Loner, scholar, roguish hero-with-a-death-sentence-on-his-head Gideon Crew is back with a new adventure that begins shortly after the end of the last book. Gideon is once again in front of Eli Glinn, ready to tell the man off after the completion of recent events, when Glinn reels him in once more.
A former colleague of Gideon’s is holding hostages in New York. The culprit is the most unlikely terrorist Gideon can imagine, but events place a great deal of suspicion on the now dead antagonist. Crew, with the assistance of FBI Agent Stone Fordyce, are soon investigating a possible nuclear threat to Washington DC, with a trail of clues that leads back to Los Alamos before Gideon himself comes under suspicion.
Framed as a terrorist, Gideon must make his way through the wilderness with an unwilling accomplice to find the true culprit(s) before “N” day, when the nation will be brought to a halt. But is the threat what Gideon and the multi-agency task force believe it to be? Who framed Gideon, and more importantly, who can he actually trust?
This is the second book in a series by the team of Preston and Child, more famous for their Pendergast novels. While there are some similarities between Gideon Crew and Aloysius Pendergast, the two protagonists are quite different. While both main characters share a troubled background, like fine dining, and a have a knack for solving difficult cases; Crew is younger, rougher, and more likely to venture outside of the law and morality. Crew’s partners and love interests tend to either die or not stick around; reinforcing the idea that crew is a bit of a loner, one who would rather live in an isolated cabin and go fishing than interact with others.
In the end of this volume, Crew has apparently made peace with the idea that he is dying, and resolves to use his remaining time to help others by working for Eli Glinn and Effective Engineering Solutions, perhaps saving the world. While this speaks well for his character, I was a little disappointed to have the diagnosis verified. After all, Crew is a young man (character) with a great deal of potential if allowed to live, and have more adventures. Besides, I could see Glinn using the “death sentence” as a hoax to get his own way. I guess I’ll just have to keep reading the series to find out which is true.
I award this book four stars for incredible action and plot twists, as well as developing an antagonist who achieved some amazing influences on the government and military without being a member of either.