A disgraced former CIA operative must go back in the field with only his ex-wife as his handler in this electrifying thriller from a former intelligence officer.
Meredith Morris-Dale is a CIA case officer and a damn good one...even if this last mission did go terribly wrong. Now she has been summoned back to Langley where she expects to be fired. Instead, she is met by the Deputy Director with stunning news.
A single well-placed CIA mole in Iran’s uranium enrichment program has kept the terrorist nation from building a bomb by sabotaging the performance of their covert centrifuge arrays. But after losing his daughter in an airliner shootdown, the mole wants out—leaving the world on the brink. His one demand: a reunion with the only handler he ever trusted, John Dale—Meredith's disgraced, fired, wayward ex-husband. As Meredith and John struggle through their fraught relationship, a craven CIA political hierarchy, Russian interference, and the rogue spy’s manipulation, they must reach deep within their shared connection to maintain, recover, or kill the asset.
Disgraced ex-CIA agent John Dale, the hero of former naval intelligence officer Woodward's promising if uneven debut, returns to action when a former asset known as Cerberus signals his desire to defect from Iran, where he's been undermining the country's uranium enrichment program. Coaxed out of retirement by his ex-wife, Meredith, the head of the CIA's Counterproliferation Division, Dale reassumes his Reza Shariati alias in order to attempt a dangerous and potentially catastrophic extraction from Iran. The author's professional background lends credibility to the story, but by cycling through multiple points of view, Woodward slows down the pace as he focuses on such secondary characters as the gorgeous Russian agent leading an SVR hit team anxious to take out Dale, the lieutenant colonel with the Quds branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who wants Cerberus just as badly as the CIA, and Meredith's corrupt supervisor. The star of the show, however, is Dale. The action scenes featuring the former CIA operative trying to shake off the rust and complete one last mission are what make this spy thriller worth reading. Hopefully, he'll be back for an encore. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group.