In this sequel to Traitor, former Israeli intelligence agent Ya'ara Stein is called upon by the prime minister to form a secret unit that must face a lethal terrorist cell with ties to old European factions.
Stein is brilliant and deadly, a combination that probably should go with some form of psychopathy. Or is that a normal result of training with Mossad and appreciating the horrors that anti-Semitism and global warfare commit against Israel daily? Because author Jonathan de Shalit (a pen name for a former Israeli intelligence agent) never clears that up, a terrible ambiguity lingers, and even deepens, around this highly connected woman ... De Shalit’s adroit plotting and description of weapons and their effects makes the action scenes lively and compelling, with highly believable terrorist aims ... the author has learned to portray a female and still employable version of Le Carré’s less than lovable traitors.
While some of the plot threads feel like recycled storylines from several more recent Daniel Silva novels, Jonathan de Shalit does a fine job developing his heroine, who grows into a strong protagonist by the book’s end. Readers will likely hope to see more of Ya’ara Stein and her team of operators, though it’s unclear if the author intends to build a franchise around her. That said, the overall feel and pacing of the story does make this a bit of an acquired taste. Those looking for a shoot ’em style of thriller will be disappointed, as de Shalit’s style is much more slow-burn coupled with a thinking man’s storyline that doesn’t bring much action. Still, for spy enthusiasts, including diehard le Carre fans, it’s a no-brainer.
...[a] challenging novel ... For many, this gripping premise will overcome the trudging pace and the overabundance of detail, and there are fascinating bits of tradecraft along the way. It’s the portrait of a stone killer—'a complex, dark and violent soul'—and her world, miles away from Fleming’s romanticized capers and le Carré’s meditations on love and betrayal, that linger in the mind.