I’ve long been a fan of the writing partners Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Their Pendergast series is among my favorites. The duo has also written another series that is only peripherally linked to that series by virtue of a supporting character that appears in both series, Eli Glinn.
Since I have (for now) finished reading the one series, I decided to turn my attention to the other. Gideon Crew is a maverick in his early thirties who has had a difficult life, beginning with the trauma of watching his father gunned down in front of him when he was twelve for alleged treason.
A few years later, Gideon’s mother, on her deathbed, tells Gideon that his father was framed and she expects him to avenge his father’s death. She tells Gideon to take his time; to learn; to grow; to study so that he can make those responsible for destroying their family pay.
Gideon takes her words to heart, and the next few years see him making a career for himself as both an engineer and a jewel thief, honing skills necessary to take down a retired army officer who still has numerous contacts in the government. This actually comprises only the first part of the book, which then takes an interesting turn.
Apparently the head of Effective Engineering Solutions, Inc., a firm specializing in “fixing” issues for multiple governments and interest groups headed by Eli Glinn, was impressed by Gideon’s takedown and want to recruit him. They need him to help save the world as we know it; or at least intercept a Chinese scientist who may or may not be defecting and who may or may not have the details of a weapon of mass destruction with him. Oh, and he arrives in the States in only a few hours.
Naturally the mission is compromised by a Chinese assassin, Nodding Crane, who also is after the scientist. Also, Eli Glinn delivers the news that Gideon Crew has only one year left to live. Will he rise to the challenge by going undercover against Chinese and American agents, learn the truth about the “weapon” and avenge the death of his girlfriend; or will he take the money and retreat to his fishing cabin to live out what is left of his life?
(Spoilers!) Gideon leads the reader on a wild ride from start to finish, including a standoff worthy of the best of Preston and Child. This new character, so different from the protagonists of their other joint series, is a reckless, irreverent, and wise-cracking, version of an anti-hero who doesn’t pull punches or hold back when lives or truth is on the line.
I award this book four stars and look forward to reading the rest of the series.