Dick Thornby is not Hollywood's idea of a spy.
In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination—just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick's tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on an abundance of explosives.
But he's also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on "business" trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer. When a mission to bust up an arms exchange in New Zealand goes spectacularly bad, ending with the showy destruction of the Dunedin port facility, Dick is thrown into a maze of conflict involving Hong Kong arms dealers, cyber-criminals, Chinese government goons attempting to suppress computer access by dissidents, and even militant Maoris seeking rocket launchers to shoot down tourist-laden jumbo jets.
Then a young computer expert back at the Philadelphia headquarters for The Subsidiary, an international espionage agency created in the aftermath of 9/11, discovers that the bad guys are involved in a vast conspiracy. Dick is forced to partner with the espionage neophyte to battle evil on multiple fronts, leading to a final confrontation that incorporates real-world conspiracy theories and cutting-edge technology.
In the end, Dick Thornby can save his partner, save his marriage, save his son, or save the world, but he can't do it all.
- Alliteration Ink, August 2011
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