From Publishers Weekly
Land packs a load of information and action into his fifth thriller (after 2001's Keepers of the Gate), in which Palestinian-American detective Ben Kamal and his unlikely partner and lover, Israeli detective Danielle Barnea, battle a female Sierra Leone rebel leader with global designs. On the plus side are Kamal and Barnea, both touching and accessible characters with enough backstory to make them interesting, but not too much to overexplain them (although in Kamal's case it becomes a near thing, especially in flashback scenes from his father's life). There are also some sharp political insights into how prospects in the Middle East have deteriorated since the series began; as Kamal's friend and mentor Colonel al-Asi grimly recalls, "The cooperative ventures you and Barnea worked on were symbols of peace when it still seemed possible." The action scenes are as plentiful and professionally rendered as ever, ranging this time from Israel's West Bank and a doomed Russian town to a bloody Sierra Leone landscape where the rebel leader (known as the Dragon) trades her country's uncut diamonds for weapons of supreme terror. But Land interrupts the flow of his narrative by constantly cutting from one set of players to another each cut is soon predictable by its length and by the cliff-hanging clichs that end most chapters. There's also an impossible-to-kill villain, whose near-magic reappearances will irk readers. Established fans will probably overlook the flaws, but newcomers might wonder what the previous fuss was all about.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The fifth Ben Kamal-Danielle Barnea novel begins with the partnership between the Palestinian and Israeli detectives in disarray. Danielle is in jail, accused of murdering a superior officer. Can Ben help her clear her name? And can Kamal and Barnea defeat an evil warlord before she destroys the governments of the Western world? As usual, the story's plot is somewhat James Bondish--the villain, who calls herself the Dragon, plans to finance her evil plans with "blood diamonds," unfinished stones smuggled into Israel from Africa--but the author never lets it go too far over the top. Similarly, the narrative gets a bit cartoony ("The Dragon gnashed her teeth and waited"), but Land always pulls it back from the brink of disaster. Kamal and Barnea, the Palestinian cop and the Israeli pakad
(chief inspector), make a good team, and the author peppers the novel with insights into Middle Eastern culture. Despite its flaws, this is a solid entry in a series that consistently uses setting as an integral part of the story. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved