Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Simon Monk was raised to follow in the military footsteps of his father and all the males in his line. Highly decorated for his time in Delta Force and his five tours of duty in war zones, Simon expected to serve in the military until he could go no further. But his lover betrayed the US by defecting to Beijing with Intelligence secrets and that not only ended their relationship but Simon’s life in the military as well. After he ruthlessly hunted the man down and executed him, he served out the remainder of his time and quietly retired with an honorable discharge.
Recruited by the CIA into a largely unknown group within the organization, Monk is sent to Cairo when the head of station there and his husband disappear suddenly. Knowing the man well, Monk realizes Jack would never just abandon his post, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. He and his team, which includes a man he not only highly respects but who happens to be his sometimes lover, manage to discover the remains of the couple, but it turns out Monk and his team have only scratched the surface of the mess going on in Egypt.
As the mystery gets deeper with each layer Monk peels off, he and his lover, Ben, become more involved with each other at the same time they are falling further in danger from unknown powers. The story is very, very full of graphic violence, including torture and descriptions of executions and fight-to-the-death battles. But it’s also full of political intrigue, Middle Eastern culture, and quite fascinating facts about Intelligence forces.
I found it to be an amazingly complex, action-packed, and gritty drama. When I finished the story and read the author notes about his fascination with Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, I instantly recalled having the same feelings he described as I sat in the theater watching those big screen movies for the first time. And I’m happy to say the author absolutely nailed that sense of an epic saga with this story.
The book wasn’t something I originally planned to read, but an opportunity to read it for review came up and I’m so glad I took it! If you like very complex, action-packed, intriguing mysteries, heavy on the military and paramilitary action, and you don’t mind blood and gore, by all means don’t hesitate to read this book.
The cover by Reese Dante shows a silhouette of a man’s torso and head done in sepia tones on which is superimposed pyramids, a golden fox head, two military men in full gear, and a band of desert fighters on camels. All are symbolic of the content of the story, and it’s very well done; however I had no idea of the significance of the cover until I completed the story. So the bottom line is that the cover didn’t attract me to the book but I can see the significance now that I’ve completed it.