Killed with A Borrowed Knife: Agent Ai: Michael Wreford
George Quant is a complex character that narrates much of the story as he shares his experiences as an undercover agent. The plot is complex and there are many flashbacks to events that happened during the aftermath of the Cambodian Civil War and places that the agent gets lured to. Helping Karen a British Intelligence journalist just might be his own Achilles heel. Falling for her and following path and her instructions he becomes involved in more than just her way of operating and lifestyle. Told from the point of view of the main character we experience his meetings with many different players as we learn about his missions, his double dealings and working as a journalist, SIS or M16 agent and going to Beijing and to Moscow.
How does an agent that might be working two different sides start over in a highly volatile country like China? Working for two different employers can be difficult and meeting their needs deadly. Pierce de Havilland and Ho provide the fodder or ammunition for him to possibly stay alive as there are many who are after him, attempts are made on his life and the Russians would do anything to give him an exit out of this world.
Flashbacks are supposed to take readers back to enlighten them into how he became an agent and his earlier experiences. Linking many different nationalities and allowing readers to become more familiar with the history of China and her customs setting the main frame of the story in Beijing. Throughout the novel we get to know George in many different lights as he has many different relationships with many women in order to complete his missions but his heart belongs to Karen.
There is a software that will take down everything and bring companies, corporations, phone lines, computers, streetlights and much more. Kill with a Borrowed Knife has many multiple meanings as you get to meet many of the different characters that are after the same thing. But, each time George thinks he is on his way out of danger something or someone reminds him that he is just a pawn being used to get what others want. From Beijing, to Cambodia, Russia and China this novels take on many different settings and still reminds us of how vulnerable we are to terrorist threats. A Russian owner of a computer company creates and computer security programs and malware products that his lead manufacturer and head of security who assists him. Madam Zhai is quite unique as she just might not be what she appears to be on the surface. What is her true agenda remains to be seen.
Pierce de Havilland is an aristocrat who is a double agent working to sides of two dangerous fences. Appearing to be working with our own double agent things appear to be congenial until they turn deadly. In question and the goal of so many is the malware called Citadel. Just what this does is quite dangerous as what would America or any country do if all of your files, journals, records, patients information, banking records and more disappeared? Not only working for him George is in tight with a man named Oskar Popkov. Resigning from his position George hoped a lose tongue would enlighten him as to the value of Citadel, where it might be and why he needed to watch out for a man named Yura who also wanted it. Enter in Madam Zhai and General pang and Mr Ho each providing their own local color, take on what they want and reason for needing George on their team. No one really cares about him or his welfare. Basically, he is a pawn in this entire situation. This virus is dangerous and can and will spread worldwide taking down just about every computer system. “Intelligent Denial Service,” it takes down email account servers, it cannot be detected and cannot and will not be seen on anyone particular home. CPU speed remains the same. You will not see it coming! But, when it is finally noticed or systems are gone it just might link back to China and what is called their subliminal branding. Added in Russia and CIS has a hand in this too.
Although George appears to be smart, savvy and avoids being caught at many checkpoints in different places somehow he does not always escape capture or injury. George tries to be resourceful and has many different personalities and names. Also know as Martin Matheson or Agent Ai, his job as most see it is a journalist taking him to make different ports and countries. Southeast Asia and to Russia where he gets a computer hacker’s antiviral program. This program is the only one that can counteract the virus that is about to infiltrate without notice. Imagine what happens when a doctor has to cancel an operation indefinitely. Imagine what happens when an insurance company finds its files and personal information on clients compromised and missing. Can George get the antidote and will it be in time to stop what has already begun? A double agent, spy and yet he appears calm and collected but at times you begin to wonder as his handler is kidnapped and her whereabouts unknown. Her final fate has yet to be revealed.
But, what would any spy thriller be without a beautiful agent to help George along the way. Meet Amanda who hires him, as a diplomat for Great Britain and the romantic edge is a perk. Who Amanda really is I will not reveal and why he puts himself in danger for her you won’t believe.
Meet Aleksandr Zhiglov the man who created the virus. zIDoS is a weapon. As he explains in detail: the virus begins with just one computer but propagates rapidly, exploiting an email loophole. Soon hundreds and thousands will be infected. They become my zombies.” Imagine the ramifications. Even from scryp, this virus he explains cannot be controlled. This and Citadel, the countermeasure is their only hope. Citadel is the only “software, which recognizes the zIDoS pattern, protects against it and can remove it. Without it millions are unprotected.” But sharing his work was supposed to keep him safe from detection and harm. When dealing with George, this told to destroy everything and leave nothing, what happens as the events transpire will surprise readers and the hacker too. Who will get Citadel? Will George give it to Karen? What happens to Aleksandr you will have to learn for yourself and who winds up with both the virus and the antidote you figure it out!
When the head of cardiovascular surgery at the General Hospital in Vienna, Austria booted up his desktop it’s what he did not find that was frightening. DeHaviland, Ho, George, Pavel Trusov and Madam Zhai and others all want the same thing but who wins, who dies and whose fate is still unknown? Pavel Trusov owns an Antimalware Corporation he got a copy of this antiviral program. Because the Americans came to his aid and saved his life led George to becoming a double agent. Which side is he really on and what happens when he gets caught in a web that is so deadly he might be snared inside it forever? The British vs. the Americans whose side is he on. As Agent Ai, he needs to spy and follow Madam Zhai. She’s a high-ranking Communist Chinese government Official and is smart, underhanded and has a strong business sense. George/AKA Martin works as Director of Lynbar Infrastructure Investments and has assess to their records, files and can hack into just about anything. As all of the players become known and the pieces are about to fall in place the ending will provide many unresolved answers and the fate of some will remain unknown. Betrayals, lies, deceits, deadly situations and a race to stop what could take not only America down but other countries too. Who can be trusted and who will kill with a borrowed knife? Author Michael Wreford brings to light many issues within this complex novel as we follow George around the world, inside the offices of those who have hired him, hear the voices of those who he has allied himself with and wonder: Who can be trusted? What will the final fate of Citadel be? Interesting first novel. Complex plot and a main character that is hardnosed, seems indestructible at times and quite unique.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer