An unlikely hero dives into the chaos and madness of Russia and Georgia’s deadly covert conflict, in this rapid-fire tale of corporate espionage gone awry
The acclaimed author of The Silent Oligarch and The Jackal’s Share, Christopher Morgan Jones returns to a murky world where corporate spies and government agents battle far from the public eye. Focusing on Georgia, a mountainous republic dominated and threatened by its neighbor Russia, Morgan Jones carries readers deep into an ancient land of chilling compromises and foolhardy valor.
Morgan Jones’s novels center on a unique London corporate espionage firm, spearheaded by Ike Hammer and Ben Webster, which follows criminal money anywhere it leads: be it Moscow or Dubai, Monaco or Kazakhstan, a bureaucrat’s pockets or a politician’s bank account. While Webster was the star of the earlier novels—investigating Russian businessmen and KGB operatives in The Silent Oligarch and Persian billionaires and Tehran terrorists in The Jackal’s Share—in The Searcher the focus shifts provocatively to Hammer, making this a perfect starting point for old fans and new readers alike.
Journeying to Georgia for the funeral of a friend, a journalist who inexplicably commits suicide after publishing the exposé of a lifetime, Webster mysteriously disappears. As the country rumbles ominously with civil strife and Russian aggression, Hammer rushes to Tbilisi to track down his missing friend. There he is forced to confront the country’s tragic chaos: civilians bombed either by cruel Russian spies or by deceitful Georgian soldiers; violent riots instigated by amoral oligarchs or government saboteurs; and double and even triple agents who are playing all sides against each other at once. Threatened by enemies he cannot name and “friends” he cannot trust, Hammer hurries north—into the lawless mountains bordering Russia itself—to discover the true fate of his friend and Georgia’s future.
Ike Hammer, the majority owner of a corporate intelligence firm in London who usually plays a secondary role to colleague Ben Webster, takes center stage in Jones's fascinating third thriller (after 2013's The Jackal's Share). Webster has vanished somewhere in the former Soviet republic of Georgia while attending the funeral of a friend. At the panicked urging of Webster's wife, Hammer, typically not a field operative, heads to Georgia, aware of but not fully prepared for the amoral, unpredictable nature of the country and its corrupt power centers. Criminal oligarchs seem to run every facet of society, and it is through them that Hammer must seek help in a search that takes him far into the lawless mountain regions outside the capital of Tbilisi. Hammer proves to be as good a leading man as Webster smart, instinctive, nobody's fool. More captivating, however, is Jones's sensory portrait of Georgia, where human behavior is brutish and unfeeling one moment, big-hearted and gentle the next.