Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Follett's new thriller (after Eye of the Needle, The Key to Rebecca) involves cut-throat treachery and mixed-up romances. Jane and Ellis, Americans in Paris, are lovers, but she breaks with him when she learns he's a CIA agent, informing on terrorists. Ellis goes back to the U.S.; Jane marries Jean-Pierre Debout, a French physician, and goes with him to Afghanistan to care for rebel families holding out against the Russian army. Here is where the novel's real action, and its knife-edge tension, begin. After the birth of her baby, Jane discovers that Jean-Pierre is himself spying for the Russians and has caused a massacre of guerrilla fighters who were trapped at the foot of the mountains. Then Ellis reappears, bearing offers of American aid for Afghan leader Masud if the latter can unite his country's quarreling tribes. While Jean-Pierre is conspiring with the S oviet intruders to kill Masud, Ellis, Jane and even the infant girl, the story races to an explosive climax. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection; author tour. Foreign rights: Writers House. January 31 (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
In his newest thriller, Follett updates the elements of his popular Eye of the Needle a spy fleeing desperately across a hostile landscape; a woman who must decide between her husband and her lover, opponents in a deadly struggleto contemporary Afghanistan. Jane Lambert discovers that her French doctor husband is really a KGB agent plotting to entrap a rebel leader. Ellis Thaler, spurned by Jane when she learned he was a CIA operative, arrives to conclude a treaty with that same leader. Soon Ellis, Jane, and her infant daughter are fleeing for their lives through treacherous mountain terrain, closely pursued by Russian patrols. As with Eye of the Needle , the implausibilities, the factual errors, and the sometimes trite writing do not slow the forward propulsion of the story. A page-turning escapist adventure that is sure to be a success.BOMC main selection. Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Follett returns once again to his Eye of the Needle triangle-formula--a passionate woman is torn between two lovers who happen to be rival spies--and once again produces only a serviceable, contrived replica of his original blockbuster. This time the sensuous heroine is radical-chic English interpreter Jane Lambert, working in 1981 Paris when she fills in love with American writer Ellis Thaler--only to discover to her horror that he's really a CIA agent! Furious, Jane dumps sexy Ellis (who does truly love her), marrying instead handsome young Dr. Jean-Pierre Debout--who takes her off to Afghanistan, where they'll both provide medical aid to a village of anti-Soviet rebels. Soon after giving birth (native-style) to baby Chantal, however, Jane secretly learns that Jean-Pierre is also an undercover spy. . .for the KGB! In fact, Jean-Pierre's mission--aside from betraying his rebel-comrades on a daily basis--is to set up rebel-leader Masud for KGB assassination. What's poor Jane to do? After all, she still loves J-P--sort of--even if he must be stopped from virtually murdering all their new Afghan friends. Then, of course, old flame Ellis appears: his mission is to arrange an alliance between Masud and the other Afghan-rebel factions--which he manages to do despite attempted sabotage by J-P, who deserts wife and child (temporarily, anyway) for total KGB involvement. So now, inevitably, there's a long, X-rated reunion for disllusioned Jane and lonely Ellis. And, after saving the village from a KGB assault (thanks to a scenic bridge-bombing), Ellis and Jane flee from Afghanistan together, baby in tow--pursued across treacherous mountain trails by KGB helicopters, Afghan back-stabbers, and the increasingly manic, cartoonishly evil Jean-Pierre. As in The Man from St. Petersburg, all the principal characters here must frequently act like idiots in order to keep Follett's synthetic plot-contraption clattering along: Jane's passionate flip-flops are nearly comic; Jean-Pierre's motivation for Communist fanaticism (the persecution of his leftwing father) is never convincing. The narration ranges from solid pulp to Harlequin pap. (The familiarity of Ellis' curly blond hair ""tugged at her heartstrings."") Still, despite the creaky plot and pasteboard characterization, Follett does undeniably keep things moving--with medical crises, guerrilla skirmishes, and chase-ordeals galore. And the Afghan-village scenes are agreeably thickened with anthropological details. So this middling effort--less involving than Key to Rebecca, less outlandish than Man from St. Petersburg--is likely to do just as well as its uneven predecessors. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.