After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.
There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.
As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.
Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.
What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.
As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.
To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.
In a country disheveled by the past four years with an inept president, the new Secretary of State is tasked with dealing with a State of Terror: finding the bombs that are set to detonate in unknown places. We watch her as she interacts with others in the administration, trying to determine who can be trusted and who might be working with those who have their own agenda.
The story is told in alternating narratives that offer unique perspectives, and as we learn more about them all, the climactic moments draw near and the intensity increases.
The characters, settings, and the ramifications of each event kept me reading and hoping for a successful resolution. Moving from the Middle East, Europe. to Russia, and eventually to a small village in Quebec, our characters kept us enthralled as they searched for answers.
Just when all the pieces began to fall into place, a stunning connection to the former president revealed itself. Would any of them be standing afterwards? 5 stars.