Night Heron

Night Heron

Mysterious Book Report No. 184

by John Dwaine McKenna

The next war between the superpowers will most likely take place in cyberspace, because that’s where all the world’s command and control systems are located . . . and it’s highly probable that in the twenty-first century . . . the coming cyberwars will be fought by multinational corporations rather than governments.  Why?  The answer is simple—because that’s where the money is.  The best and brightest, the programmers, computer engineers and as the smartest hackers will all gravitate to private industry rather than government service with the CIA, NSA or DIA just because they’ll be able to get rich.  Would you rather be a GS9, 10 or 11 making  an estimated eighty to one-hundred thousand per year, or get a quarter-million stock options from a new start-up such as Google, which is now trading on world stock markets at around eight hundred dollars each?  Yeah.  Me neither.  At some point—the tipping point—governments the world over will come up looser in the brain race competition.

An exciting, timely and on-point new thriller entitled Night Heron, (Little Brown and Co., $26.00, 387 pages, ISBN 978-0-7515-5248-5) by a first-time author named Adam Brookes is the best spy yarn I’ve read since The Hunt for Red October, which vaulted onto the world stage more than thirty years ago.

Night Heron takes place in China.  It begins with a prison break when a man known as Peanut, who’s been held for twenty years in a labor camp, escapes and flees across the deserts of Northwest China and makes his way to Beijing, hoping to escape the country.  More than two decades earlier, Peanut had spied for the British government, and now wants to reestablish his clandestine relationship, seeing it as his only opportunity to escape the country.  But during the twenty years he’s been away . . . everything has changed, unbeknownst to him.  He contacts MI6, the British Secret Service, via journalist Philip Mangin, offering to sell China state secrets in exchange for a new life “someplace warm.”  What none of them realize however, is that the information Peanut has to trade is far more valuable than they know, and to more agencies than just the British.  Under relentless, ever more intense scrutiny, with each hour being closer to apprehension by Chinese State Security, Peanut’s life expectancy is measured in minutes as the tension and suspense cranks up with every page.  This novel is so intense you won’t be able to put it down.  And don’t worry . . . it’s all set up for a sequel.  The author has years of experience in Asia reporting for the BBC as a foreign correspondent and gives a unique, insightful and compelling look into present day China.  Night Heron could be the start of a franchise character a la Jason Bourne, so here’s your chance to get in early.  I think Adam Brookes has a lot more to write about . . . and I can’t wait to read it!  Five stars.

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Night Heron

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