The First Order: Jeff Abbott
One young man with two different personalities and hides his true whereabouts from the one person that hopes to find him before it’s too late. How far would you go to find someone you thought was dead to learn that he might not be what you think he is and does not want you to find him? Phillip Judge is a paid assassin who is being hired to kill the Premier of Russia. When approached by a rich woman named Mrs. Clayborne he’s presented with a mission that another has declined. Failure is not an option when working with this particular group and declining when learning the facts fatal. Within the start of the novel we meet Sam Capra the brother of a young man named Danny who is presumed to have been executed by a terrorist group along with another man in his battalion. This mysterious organization is just one, not including the one Sam works for called The Round Table group using his many bars as a cover in order to handle his missions. But, things get out of control when Sam enlists the help of a British agent to find his brother’s body. Instead he learns the harsh truth and has to decide it he can go further. Sometimes our hope for success comes at a cost as we met Mila the woman who helped him rescue his son from a mysterious group along with her husband Jimmy. But, eyes are everywhere and Jimmy demands a high price for Danny’s life and before Sam agrees the die is cast but the end result will startle and surprise readers as Jimmy and Mila face off with these people once again. Mila realizes after Jimmy explains what he needs her to do that something is wrong and that he might be betraying Sam. Will she go along with him?
Philip Judge who has agreed to kill the Russian Premier and is creating a scene similar to the death of Julius Caesar in order to carry out the murder is a dangerous man desperate to complete his mission and once again change identities. Working for the CIA when he is not in his bar in New York called The Last Minute, Sam struggles to find Danny after watching a grainy video of his orchestrated death. Thinking he was tortured and beheaded he realizes that the radical extremists had another goal in mind for Danny but what?
Using some of the intelligence groups at hand and not thinking his brother is dead he enlists the help of British agent Bob Seaforth who has enlisted him to find and stop the mysterious assassin who is going to kill Russian Premier Morozov. Seaforth has connected the dots and realizes that the assassin is Danny. Everyone is far from what they seem and when Mila is kidnapped and told she has to double cross Sam, her husband is not what he seems and is working for a secret intelligence agency, she has no choice but to protect herself and her family from the threats made by someone that is referred to as Firebird. Everyone wants to find Danny for different reasons and each one has their own agenda in mind as the author weaves this intricate plot into threads that just might connect. As Sam listens in on a meeting that Bob and his associates are having he learns that they too have their own agenda in mind and Danny seems to be at the center of the discussion. Just whom can he trust? The Round Table is the organization and Jimmy requests Sam divorce himself from and Mila has been enlisted to find Danny. Deals are made but which ones will be honored and at what cost? As Mila enters into this agreement with charity, knowing they want Danny taken and returned to London.
There are three agendas presented in this story and one outcome for all three and that is to stop what Judge has set in place by finding him but which agenda will win: The death Premier or returning Danny to his family and becoming who he was before being turned? Disguises, allegiances reformed, dealing with the Russians who are directly involved with Morozov the author delivers a multi-level complex plot that keeps adding more intricacies along the way and layers to keep readers on edge.
Sam and Mila believe that Danny plans to infiltrate this group and see Morozov killed on American soil. Furthermore, the man introduced to them as Philip Judge looks strikingly like Danny — if he were still alive and six years older. Sam is torn and when he finally confronts his parents and tells them what they need to know about Danny and his disappearance, that he worked for the CIA and that he was part of the Round Table their reaction was one you might not expect and their support infinite. So, at this point retirement is out and he will now enlist the help of Mila hoping that together they can find Danny and prevent what someone has put into place.
As Sam investigates more he comes in contact with a woman named MagPie who knows more about the video or DVD of his brother and his friend’s execution and learns about a woman named Avril Claybourne who makes movies and must have had something to do with the faked death and the group Brothers of the Mountain responsible for it. The author goes into depth of how the deaths are faked and how they use different angles and materials to fake the blood and the slit throats. Why go after someone that does not want to be found and how close to reality is this story? The main thrust his the execution of the Russian Premier for 20 million dollars and the fact that Danny has been hired to kill him unknown to Sam who is beginning to put the pieces together. Woman find their way to Sam and he relies on the help of two in order to get what he wants and needs: Russian party girl and celebrity Katya Kirova and falls into an illicit affair with Irina Belinskaya the widow of a high-ranking official. Both Danny and Sam need to know the target person who bought the contract and set it in motion: Who is Firebird and just how high up in the rankings is this person and why the Premier? Belinskaya has another agenda as she wants to avenge the death of her husband and she has been given the title Russia’s most dangerous woman. As Mila has been enlisted to find Danny and stop Sam will he realize that their alliance is not what he thinks and that she is placing him in more danger in order to achieve her own outcome to save herself and her husband?
Events spiral in many directions as Sam and Danny wind up embroiled with some dangerous people that both hope leads to their own solution. Danny wanting to enter into the elite group of the Russians and Sam hoping to find out information on the luxury yacht from Avril herself. But, tempers flare, guns are drawn and an important link is gone and the clean-up group takes the body away and anything that might link it to Sam. Danny and Mila are headed for the summit and each one realizes the agenda of the other but will either change course or admit the dangers they are both facing. Danny thinking of ways to erase Mila from the equation and Mila hoping to kidnap him to save herself her husband. While Sam and Irina get closer yet there is no trust and Irina is accused of stealing money from the Kirov family for her own purposes while Yuri the father is drunk and appears frail but Sam knows better. Just who is Firebird and who put the contract out on the Russian Premier and can he stop his brother and will Sergei give him away?
Deaths are many as Danny leaves many bodies along the way and often falls prey to attacks knowing far too well that one day it could be his last. Brother against brother each hoping complete their agendas and yet each losing sight of their own purposes and identity as Danny once again turns from Phillip Judge and will become someone else just to stay alive. But, can he live being no one more than a face on a passport of license? Irina who does not trust his motives while Mila and Danny meet with the Premier and each plans to execute their own agenda but first a harsh truth comes out takes Sam.
Double crossed and captured Mila learns what happens when Charity decides to do it her way and Danny and Stefan get away but wonder just what her fate will be as he informs him that the Kirovs might be involved with trying to take out the Prime Minister as Mila realizes that Sam is left to be on his own as the Danny’s agenda just might come to pass since everyone is taken in by him and the money the Prime Minister thinks Sam and Mila will use to invest in Russian businesses and his bars.
An ending with a twist with characters in place, the plot about to be executed and betrayals and harsh realities learned as Sam fights for his life along with Danny’s but the end result is electrifying and the plot to kill the Premier will not be revealed.
With Yuri acting odd, and illegal operations not being traced, the son a billionaire with him running drugs to fund illegal operations the Morozov’s did not want traced, he pits Anton against a deviant prisoner and allows him to die. His own wife was spying on him and the truth about Anton’s death was covered up. When Sam, Danny and the others are all in one place that lives, who dies, who is Firebird and why did this person put out the hit on the Russian Premier? Will Sam save Danny from doing what he was hired to do? What happens when each one faces off with the other? An ending you won’t expect and two brothers who have lost so much time will they get it back or will someone die because they decided to heed To The First Order?
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine