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"If your opponent has only two possible options, you can be sure that he will take the third." A tough, resourceful master of his trade, British Intelligence agent Nick Stone has just been given a chilling ultimatum: find a missing agent who appears to have defected or lose the guardianship of his beloved nine-year-old daughter. In Stone's mind, there is no choice.
The "runner" is Sarah Greenwood, U.K. liaison with the Counterterrorism Center, a cell set up by the CIA to warn against potential terrorist attacks. Steel-willed, beautiful, cunning, Sarah is also Nick's former lover, the only woman who has ever been allowed under his rough, impenetrable guard.
"It's not only what you see. Sometimes what isn't there is just as important as what is." Relying on his keen instincts and cool logic, Nick tracks Sarah to the mountainous backwoods of North Carolina. There, in a remote cabin, she conspires with two Middle Eastern men. Then Nick's mission takes a decidedly dark turn when he receives a T104--an order to kill Sarah without a trace.
But nothing is what it seems, as Nick and Sarah themselves become hunted, racing deeper into a dark, deadly conspiracy that will change the course of world events--and the lives of millions.
With seventeen years of active service in the elite SAS force, Andy McNab writes from his own harrowing experiences. As compelling and relentless as a fast-burning fuse, Crisis Four hurtles us into a breathtaking plot of nonstop action and suspense. Packed with authentic procedural details, it is a thriller so gritty and real that you won't know where fact ends and fiction begins. Andy McNab's British intelligence agent, Nick Stone, is enough of a rebel to be denied a permanent place on the SAS roster, but he's dragooned into a freelance assignment with an ultimatum from his former employers. He's to find Sarah Greenwood, a missing agent who's thought to have defected from the service to aid Muslim militants intent on blowing up the world, or go to prison and also lose the only other female he's ever loved besides Sarah: a 9-year-old girl whose dead parents, Nick's closest friends, left her in his care.
Nick manages to locate Sarah without much difficulty, but when he's ordered to kill her, he has a change of heart. The hunter turns into the hunted, as Nick and Sarah flee her hiding place in the North Carolina woods and try to outwit the police, the intelligence services, and a team of assassins directed by Osama bin Laden. As they make their way to Washington to preempt a plan to kill Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu, Nick tries to sort out his conflicted feelings about Sarah. Is she part of bin Laden's team, a so-called runner who's a threat to the CIA and the SAS, or is she a loyal operative trying to outwit a highly placed traitor in the White House? Crisis Four is strong on its depiction of agents in the field; McNab excels at describing every last detail of the hunt, the chase, the kill. One can almost see this former SAS agent replaying scenes from his own past and struggling to get them right:
I raised the arrow in the air again and rammed it down hard. It hit against the bone again, but this time it slid off and lodged deeper into his neck. I felt him stiffen, his muscle tensing up to resist the penetration. The gardening glove gave a good grip as I pushed harder, twisting the arrow shaft to maximize the damage. I was hoping to cut into his carotid artery or spinal cord, or even find a gap to penetrate his cranium, but instead I ended up severing his windpipe. Now I had to hold him as he asphyxiated, try to stop his body-jerking from getting out of hand and becoming noisy as I waited for him to die. His movements gradually subsided to no more than a spasmodic twitching in his legs. The last reserve of strength he'd found as he saw his life slowly get darker was now exhausted. I could see dark blood oozing out of the wound; it followed along the shaft of the arrow to my glove and dripped onto the floor. When I moved my arm away from his mouth he made no sound.The explosive denouement in the White House bowling alley ultimately reveals Sarah's true colors. It comes as no surprise to anyone except Nick, but it caps a terrific suspense story written by an author who clearly knows what he's about. --Jane Adams
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