Mark Sava has retired from the CIA and is taking it easy in Kyrgyzstan. He is spending his days playing board games with the old men of his new hometown. His girlfriend Daria is trying to be supportive, but she is ready for him to get back to work. In the meantime she is running several orphanages in the region. The action in the novel starts when two men forcibly remove a young boy from one of the orphanages. There is only one road out of the region so Daria calls Sava and asks him to stop them. He does and suddenly finds himself in the middle of an international crisis. This small boy seems to be wrapped up in some scheme that involves the CIA and Saudi Intelligence. Sava has few people he can trust. Before he knows it his own distant past comes back to trap him.
Now, with the help of only a few close friends and some old trusted colleagues he has to face down agents who want to use this boy to manipulate the future of a nation. Sava has to balance all of the stories he is hearing against the well being of the child. Since everyone seems to be telling him half truths his job is that much harder. Along the way Sava has to confront some of his own personal demons.
The book is well written and very interesting. You don't find a lot of novels focusing on this the Central Asian republics that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. While Sava shows himself to be tough as nails he tends to use his brain for than his brawn. His enemies are cunning and devious, so is he. They show themselves capable of kidnapping, so does he. He is not an anti-hero though. Sava may bend the rules, but he still operates by a code. In many ways Sava reminds me a lot of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good spy thriller novel. This is my first Sava novel, but it will not be my last. I hope to see Sava, Daria, and the rest of this new crew back in action soon.