The book portrays the life of covert SAS Major Mike Martin.
Saddam hires Dr. Gerald Bull to design a gun in a so called “Project Babylon”. Bull designs the ultimate gun, which he believes will be used to launch a satellite. Later, he comes to know that the gun will be used to launch a nuclear warhead and is assassinated.
Saddam attacks Kuwait. US moves in to stop the rampage and free Kuwait from the iron rule of Saddam. But all the think-tanks are unable to locate the weapon(s) of mass destruction which Saddam has developed over the years and successfully used in the war against Iran. These weapons are so well camouflaged that even the spy satellites hovering over Iraq are unable to locate them, specifically the giant gun. They decide to send a covert agent into Iraq a so called NOC (non-official cover operative) to get first hand information. Mike Martin becomes the natural choice because of his fluency with the language, his love for the desert and most importantly he also looks like an Arab because his grandmother was a so called Indira Bose. Mike breaches the Iraqi defense by disguising himself as a Bedouin and reaches Kuwait. Along with the local resistance he plans and executes several operations which leave the Iraqi leaders wondering about this so called illusive Bedouin.
In mean time word reaches the CIA that Mossad has an asset (informer) in Iraq, a so called “Jericho”. Now the question arises who will go to Iraq and handle Jericho to gain inside information, because Israel can not directly participate in the ongoing conflict. Mike again becomes the natural choice, because of his looks and his extensive knowledge on the Iraqi culture. Mike is called back from Kuwait and sent into the heart of the enemy territory i.e. Baghdad. Mike poses as a gardener working in the house of the Soviet ambassador. He starts handling Jericho through a series of dead drops and starts gathering inside information. The story becomes an interesting read when “Jericho” (whose identity is not revealed till the end of the book) reveals the position of the giant gun in exchange for a hefty sum of money. However, it does not solve the problem because the gun is so well camouflaged, that it will require somebody on the ground to pinpoint its position for a perfect hit from the air.
The book consists of two mysteries, the first one is the identity of "Jericho" (about whom the readers will keep guessing) and the second one is the way the giant gun is taken out. Coupled to this is the story of Mike Martin. How he carries out the operations and how his presence of mind saves him number of times from situations where he will be inches away from capture. The book also portrays, the life of a commoner under the iron rule of Saddam, the dreaded Iraqi secret police, the trained and disciplined Iraqi republican guard, the corruption infested cabinet of Saddam.
This report prepared by Yajnavalka Banerjee
Like always, Forsythe uses current real world facts and scenarios to amplify another mindboggling spy/military thriller. In this case an extremely industrious sas officer conducting a covert multifaceted operation in Iraq and Kuwait in the heat of the gulf war.
This report prepared by t-bird