by Jake Bussolini
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

"You have approval to offer friend a new identity if he cooperates. Courier may be trusted completely. Assistant still in doubt, make your own judgment."

There’s a lot to like in this intellectually compelling thriller. The plot is involving and credible. The characters’ personalities, behaviors, and idiosyncrasies are well-drawn. The evocation of the time’s geopolitical climate, plus the economic and political aspects of the period, are realistic. One gets the feeling that what goes on in this novel could have actually gone on in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Ivan is a brilliant American scientist. Obsession with his work has led to divorce from his wife and separation from his son. When he’s recruited by the feds to take on a clandestine assignment, he sees the opportunity to pursue his life’s work and achieve financial security for himself and his estranged family. There is a question, however, as to how long his life will last, particularly if the real motive behind his mission is uncovered. Soon he’s in Iran just after the fall of the Shah, trying to convince both a Russian scientist and a German one that he is actually working with them on a secret weapon that each scientist’s country will share. But his real goal is something quite different. Ivan the scientist becomes Ivan the spy, and danger becomes his constant companion.

Author Bussolini layers his main narrative with that of Ivan’s son’s military career. The two stories dovetail intricately as both make their way to a suspenseful climax. Repetition of background information and minor editing flaws occasionally create speed bumps where the pace is concerned, but neither blunts interest in finding out just who will survive and at what cost. If you’re into international intrigue, chances are you’ll be into this accomplished tale.

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