A British nobleman-turned-spy is thrust into the middle of a Chinese government plot that might be the first shot fired in World War III. Bill Chase is the world's most inventive military weapons designer. So it was big news when Chase, his wife and two kids disappeared off a Washington D.C. street five years ago. No one knew what had happened, but when a new class of completely automated sub is spotted after it's forced to surface, the Americans suspect the Chinese are responsible. They also suspect Chase is helping the Chinese, although they don't know why.
While the Americans don't know it, Kathleen Chase and her two children are being held in a North Korean prison camp while her husband is forced to create cutting edge weapons in order to keep them alive. Chase worries that they might not survive, especially since it seems the Chinese are finally preparing to use all those weapons he created. He's being held on secluded Xinbu Island in the South China Sea and his captor General Sun-Yat Moon is eager to prove China's superiority.
At nearly the same time, a Chinese-born chef manages to poison the President, and during his funeral at Arlington Cemetery, a mysterious and futuristic drone attacks the crowd, killing some of America's top politicians and military figures.
Things begin to quickly escalate after that. A Chinese freighter is stopped as it nears Florida and is found to contain a hidden compartment filled with drones just like the one that attacked Washington. Alexander Hawke is longtime friends with the new President and when the British government agrees to help, Hawke agrees to join in the hunt. He assembles a team, including Stokely Jones, a large black ex-SEAL who is set to be knighted for his recent role in saving the Royal Family.
Hawke speaks to a recently escaped North Korean prisoner who is able to identify the camp where the Chase family are being held. The Americans put together a team to sneak into North Korea and attempt a rescue. At the same time, Hawke and his team will lead American special forces members in an assault on Xinbu Island. The prison rescue is messy, but the family is rescued and returned to the U.S. The island assault almost fails, but after a number of casualties Chase is rescued and the advanced weapons are destroyed. Gen. Moon dies in the explosion and the Chinese government denies any involvement with his plan.
A few months later, Hawke is at a Christmas party and he spots a face from his past. It's his ex-fiancee Nell, who left him to marry another man. She tells him that she realizes she's made a mistake and she has left her husband. She tells him she wants to be with him, if he'll have her, and they embrace.
Best part of story, including ending:
The plot had a lot of moving parts and sometimes too many things were crammed into the plot. But it was a clever story and while a lot of books include a Chinese government plot, this was an inventive spin on a familiar story.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when the rough-and-tumble Stokley Jones meets Alex at his private club. Some of the other members turn down their nose at him until they learn he's personally saved the Queen's life and is about to be knighted. Suddenly, he's worthy of their attention.
Opinion about the main character:
Alex Hawke is a bit of a one-dimensional character. The nobleman turned spy turned warrior seems a bit like a James Bond knockoff. While I didn't hate Hawke, he was the least enjoyable part of the book.