Simon & Schuster, Feb 2004, 24.00, 288 pp.
Thirty-three years old Vicky Sorrel, disenchanted with the State department, believes it is time to start over. She plans to quit her job as a cultural attaché assigned to the American Embassy in Spain. Vicky also informs her lover Wyatt Willis that she is leaving him behind. When it comes to her job, everyone wishes her the best. When it comes to her lover, he puts on a public show accusing her of betrayal to their eternal love.
Easily ignoring Wyatt, who added layers of skepticism to the cynical Vicky, she continues to shut down her life in Spain until her plans are disrupted when popular American author Jack Baines asks for help. The Columbia rebel Badger, in an attempt to embarrass the United States, has kidnapped Jack's nephew. Vicky has doubts about Jack's story, but agrees to help him, not realizing what she is getting into.
Though exciting as a thriller and insightful in terms of Spain and embassy life overseas, A HANDFUL OF KINGS seems a bit short of royalty. The story line moves quickly and the Foreign Service is interesting to watch in action. Vicky is a former optimist, a believer in the American way, but her work has converted her into a delightful doubting Thomasina. The weak link to an otherwise fine tale is Jack, who at times acts like a lone STONE COWBOY and just seems no where near Vicky's level. Still Mark Jacobs provides a solid thriller with a shot of romance that will please suspense fans wondering what is really going on.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner