In early 2002, six months after the World Trade Center attack, Hayden Stone who took early retirement from the FBI, is working for the CIA. On his last assignment to Afghanistan a colleague is killed and Stone blames himself for his death. A friend in the upper ranks of the CIA offers him an assignment to the South of France. Stone accepts, thinking this is exactly what he needs to get his life back on an even keel: French life on the Côte d’Azur. Well, he’s in for a surprise. He has little time for the Mediterranean ambiance, as two terrorists, acting separately, attempt to murder him. Meantime, Stone meets an old love, a contessa, whom he had seduced and abandoned years before.
Through a series of setups and encounters, Stone learns that a brutal Middle Eastern terrorist is in Provence to deliver a strain of the Ebola virus to major U.S. cities. At the same time, the CIA and French intelligence have targeted a seriously ill al Qaeda functionary who is seeking medical attention in Nice. Complicating matters still, a Saudi prince and his son-in-law on a yacht off Villefranche are assisting this al Qaeda figure. They lease the contessa’s palace so that, without her knowledge, doctors can administer to the functionary. Stone romances the contessa who loves him, but doesn’t trust him and with cause, for he also has become fond of a young French researcher, who secretly works for French Intelligence.
Stone certainly has his hands full.
©2013 Arthur Kerns (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Hayden Stone is a likeable cool cat, part old school government agent, part James Bond maverick. He ably takes on some very bad guys in this engaging yarn that brings us inside today's complicated fight to contain global terrorism. Some of the appeal of the tale lies in following Hayden's mixed success with the opposite sex.
One of Kerns' best constructs is the lead terrorist, a complex and very deadly bad guy. One of his weaker characters is a man whose corruption is too obvious/predictable. This detracts from the suspense the author is building.
Overall, Kerns has created a protagonist we want to follow on subsequent missions.The narrator does a fine job of bringing these characters to life. I look forward to the next installment.
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Loved the action sequences, also the romantic scenes.
The hero Hayden Stone and the contessa on the yacht. Action and romance
Murder, intrigue, and romance on the French Riviera.
Use books for escape- typically avoid nonfiction. Enjoy action-romance, espionage/military, sci-fi. Skilled writing is most important.
A retired, newly divorced FBI agent takes a contract with the CIA. Although risky, what begins as a straightforward assignment soon becomes much more.
The writer blends action scenes and romance believably - no 'love at first sight' scenes here. Romantic entanglements are not what is typical in the genre, so if you are looking for a Harlequin-type story, you might be disappointed with this book.
The story could have taken place anywhere, i.e. the Riviera is not key, or even expanded upon. The title drew me in, but the writer does little with the locale.
Overall, I am open to spending another credit on this writer, but my expectations won't be high.
Running around the Riviera being chased by nasty people. Didn't really come together for me. He seemed to do the fight scenes the best, which are the ones I'm least interested in. A few mispronunciations by the narrator, but otherwise o.k.
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