Peopled with the rich, vivid characters that have made Stephen Coonts famous worldwide, Liberty is all action and suspense from the very first page. And it poses the unanswerable question: How far should civilization go to defend itself from its mortal enemies?
On a quiet park bench in Manhattan--just miles from the ruins of the World Trade Center--spymaster Jake Janos Illin delivers a chilling secret message to Jake Grafton: A rogue Russian general has sold four nuclear warheads to a radical Islamic terrorist group, the Sword of Islam. The group intends to detonate them in America in the ultimate terror strike, the apocalypse that will trigger a holy war between Western civilization and the Muslim world. After passing Illin's message to his superiors, Grafton is charged by the president with the task of assembling a secret team to find the warheads before America's population centers are consumed by a nuclear holocaust.
As he hunts for the terrorists, Grafton soon finds himself up to his neck in power politics, techno-billionaires, money-grubbing traitors, anarchists, and spies. He also discovers that the terrorists don't all come from the Middle East. They come from places close to home. They masquerade as patriots. Some may even have the president's ear.
With the survival of Western civilization at stake, Grafton pulls out all the stops. Calling on the assistance of the indomitable Toad Tarkington, and CIA burglar Tommy Carmellini, he raids the prisons to assemble his team while the clock ticks toward Armageddon.
Coonts's latest gripping espionage thriller (after America, Hong Kong and Cuba) continues the adventures of Adm. Jack Grafton as he pursues major malefactors. This time, a rogue Russian general has sold nuclear warheads to a Mideastern anti-American terrorist best known for "hacking some tourists to death with a machete" in Egypt. Grafton must identify and locate the terrorist and his cronies before he detonates the weapons in the U.S. The action moves from central Russia and Suez to the American east coast. Readers familiar with the series know that while Grafton's methods trample on the law, the FBI and, especially, the CIA, he will be supported by persons at the highest level of government. Coonts's naval background and his legal education bring considerable authority to the story, and the narrative is loaded with detailed information about terrorist networks, modern weaponry and international intrigue. The plot is so intricate and involves so many characters that readers might lose track of who's who, though Coonts delineates the major players skillfully. The best character is a computer hacker whom Grafton gets released from prison so that she can invade the databases of law enforcement agencies in Washington. The action is slam-bang, and shifts in point of view accelerate the tension. The climax, played out in the recently renovated interior of the Statue of Liberty, is made for the movies. By the novel's end, Grafton is so detested by law enforcement that the only thing for him to do is retire. Readers will hope it's only temporary. Regional author tour.