Europe is an intolerant, deeply religious, dogmatic, hostile backwater which never recovered after WW2. In the 1970’s, the ‘modern EU equivalent’ is the Middle East Arab Country(aka MEAC), which is liberal, secular, prosperous, peaceful, and run by a committee of women in Baghdad. In contrast to Germany, MEAC and Israel are allies and friends.
Martina, a young female German ex-soldier (with sharpshooter and martial arts skills), leaves Germany for a new life in the Middle East. Along the way, she plans to avenge her rape by three other ex-soldiers. Early in her journey, she rescues three trafficked women (Helena, Hilda & Rosa) and a young slave boy (Yusuf) in Egypt.
After narrowly avoiding death by sea pirates, they land in MEAC just as terrorism grips the country. Germans terrorists kidnapped Israeli athletes at the Baghdad Olympic Games. Martina is first arrested but later recruited into the Intelligence services (MIS) to bring some much-needed German insight.
In her first MIS mission, she disrupts a German cell finding a link to an African diamond mine funding terrorist operations. She goes undercover in Africa, exposing an out-of-control militia security and an appalling maiming policy, of which she narrowly escapes becoming a victim. She finds a link to a prominent Israeli businessman.
Martina recognizes the Israeli as the ‘rabbi’ who ordered her rape by fellow soldiers. Why was a prominent Israeli rabbi helping Germany in its war against Israel? Martina uncovers direct German-State involvement in spying and a stolen identity. This links the German government relationship with the Baghdad terrorists.
The Women (MEAC heads of state) are apoplectic because they brokered peace between Germany and Israel after the 1967 war and Germany is run primarily on MEAC aid money.
When Germany is further involved in a child abuse cover-up scandal, Martina is sent to investigate. The operation finds a widespread cover-up by the German state under pressure from the Vatican to look away. The resultant outrage sweeps away the implicated German government and pushes back against a rapidly retreating red-faced Vatican. Finally, the European continent can break away from the shackles of intolerance and religion to become forward-looking and progressive.
Sub-plots: taking Rosa to her family and then rescuing her; finding Yusuf’s parents; learning Helena’s story and links to WW2 and German covert operation in Israel.
Author Ash Nehmet weaves an intense tale of mystery, thriller and suspense, with intriguing twists and turns that easily captivates the reader’s attention from the beginning. The story had every element a good story should have. An exciting plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well illustrated scenes that make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I really look for in a good book.
I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more from Ash Nehmet in the future. I would definitely recommend this book. Five stars from me.