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The Colonel's Mistake (A Mark Sava Spy Novel Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Dan Mayland
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (435 customer reviews)

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Neil Cross is a British novelist and screenwriter best known as the creator of the multiple-award-winning international hit BBC crime series Luther. Natural History, his latest effort, is a suspense novel using an animal sanctuary as an intriguing setting.

Book Description

Mark Sava, former CIA station chief of Azerbaijan, lives a quiet life as a professor at Western University in the city of Baku. But his peace is shattered by both the assassination of a high-level American during an international oil conference and the arrest of CIA operations officer Daria Buckingham for the crime.

Sava knows the Iranian American Buckingham well—he personally trained her—and doesn’t believe she had anything to do with the murder, so he visits a CIA control center to discuss the situation with the new station chief. When no one answers the outside intercom, Sava overrides the security code and stumbles upon the grisliest scene of his career. Now, he can’t help but wonder if he really knows Buckingham as well as he thought…

Determined to find out, Sava soon finds himself and a partner caught in the middle of the new Great Game—a deadly intelligence war over oil that has Iran, China, and the United States clawing at each other’s throats. Meanwhile, Colonel Henry Amato, assistant to the US national security advisor, is keeping a close watch on the situation from Washington. His stake in the Great Game is high—and personal.

From the shadows of the world’s most volatile region to the highest levels of Washington politics, The Colonel’s Mistake takes readers on an unforgettable ride where the good, the bad, and the brutal play a deadly chess game of global espionage.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mark Sava is teaching international relations in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the former CIA station chief for Azerbaijan doesn’t miss his old life at all. But when Daria Buckingham, one of his former field operatives, is arrested, and almost all the station’s operational staff are murdered, he rejoins the Agency as a contractor. The machinations he uncovers reach the highest levels of the U.S. and Iranian governments, and Sava finds himself on the run in Iran, Iraq, Dubai, and Paris. Author Mayland handles this debut novel (and first of a series) with the aplomb of a veteran. He makes oil-rich, little-known Azerbaijan a fascinating locale for the “latest incarnation of the Great Game.” Sava’s transformation from complacent professor to hard-edged, combative spook is skillfully handled, and the explication of Azerbaijan’s importance in the geopolitics of oil recalls the knowing thrillers of David Ignatius. There’s also plenty of action, and a violent denouement. Espionage-thriller fans won’t want to miss this one. — Thomas Gaughan


Mayland beautifully captures the high stakes games played in an increasingly complex world. The Colonel's Mistake is a terrific ride. --Kyle Mills, New York Times Bestselling author of The Immortalists

"Dan Mayland has an excellent understanding of modern Iran." --Gene Garthwaite, author of The Persians

"Dan Mayland tells a riveting spy story from the Caspian oil city of Baku. He vividly captures the mysterious, dangerous place that swarms with agents like Cold War Berlin in the 1960s." Lutz Kleveman, author of The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia

"An outstanding debut...The Colonel's Mistake has a fresh setting well off the beaten path of the run of the mill intelligence novel, and you'll definitely be rewarded for making the trip..." –William Christie, author of The Warriors of God

Product Details

  • File Size: 2827 KB
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (August 21, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ZNA0RE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,217 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Geopolitical Thriller May 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mark Sava, recently retired CIA station chief in Azerbaijan, is trying to live quietly with his girlfriend and teach college classes, but of course it's not to be. Within the first few pages Mark is trying to get his protege, Daria, out of prison, where she has been accused of a horrible crime. The entire CIA staff in Baku has been massacred, and the higher-ups in Washington DC are inept and seemingly unconcerned. The case quickly spins out of control. No one is who they appear to be. Friends can't be trusted and enemies are everywhere. Mark, despite his nondescript appearance, is no naive American, but a savvy street-fighter. That's all I'm going to tell you about the plot--it's complicated. The action ranges from Baku in Azerbaijan, to Washington, to Iran, to Iraq, to a village in France, to Dubai. Well, your head will be spinning.

And what was the colonel's mistake? The tragic mistake that has haunted him all his life? I won't tell you that either. Get the book.

Author Dan Mayland seems to know his way around the third world, and the dark outposts of human nature as well. His writing his crisp, lucid, and straightforward, without literary pretensions. The action starts immediately and doesn't let up until the last page. I really enjoyed this book, and finished it within two days, because I couldn't stop reading. This is to be first of a series of Mark Sava novels, and I'll be looking for the next one. Get this book as soon as you can. I recommend it highly. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Dan Mayland's adventure of global politics and international intrigue, "The Colonel's Mistake," is a book that exceeded my expectations. When you deal with conspiracy and power politics, there is one of two ways that a narrative generally chooses to go. Either it can be an intricately plotted labyrinthine mystery that digs deep into the heart of corruption and deception or it can be a globe-trotting thrill ride as the protagonists outrace menace to uncover long-buried secrets. Mayland's book (the first in a proposed series) is very much the latter. While the novel is set in destinations around the world and its central themes are driven by power struggles involving Iran, China, and the United States, it is not something that requires the reader to have an in-depth knowledge of contemporary international policy to enjoy. It lays out what you need to know for the plot in rather simple terms and then just unleashes the action. Yes, there is mystery but (for my money) the resultant answers were somewhat less interesting than the journey.

The book starts out absolutely brilliantly. We're introduced to Mark Sava, a former CIA bigwig, living a peaceful retirement as a teacher in Baku. The orchestrated murder of a visiting American official puts a former agent of his, Daria Buckingham, in hot water. Sava is literally dragged out of retirement when the entire CIA bureau seems to have been compromised (to put it nicely and vaguely), and he feels a responsibility to try to rescue Buckingham. Buckingham, though, is full of secrets of her own and her agenda may not correspond with what Sava has in mind. The crimes seem to be fueled by warring political factions, international oil deals, and possibly even nuclear weaponry.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An imperfect yet enjoyable summer read May 26, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I read the blurb, I thought this book might be just the light summer thriller I wanted. I liked the two main characters - Mark Sava and Daria Buckingham - and the geopolitical aspects of the story were believable to me, although in one torture scene (in which not too many gory details are given, no worries there) I think information might have been given up too readily. I must commend the author for his solid epilogue - more often than not, thriller authors let the story peter out there, but I think those pages are some of the best written in the book.

It wasn't perfect, though. I consider a thriller to be truly good if I end up forcing myself to read faster and longer in the night than I planned, just so that I can get through the tense parts to a resolution, and that never happened with this one. The character of the SEAL isn't well-developed, and I would have liked to see a little more depth there. Also, one of the major power players (who doesn't get much page-time but is part of the mini-plot back in DC and a significant part of the book's climax) is far more two-dimensional than a character in his role should have been. The main surprise near the end had been obvious for most of the book for me, so I wasn't wowed by it the way other readers might have been. Rumor has it that this is merely the first of the author's Mark Sava books; while I might read future ones, I wouldn't go out of my way to do so.

I still enjoyed it, despite its imperfections, because I was just aiming for a nice geopolitical semi-thriller to escape into.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Game Continues . . . July 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Somebody is killing CIA agents in Baku and it is up to retired station chief Mark Sava to figure out why! When Baku last appeared on the world stage, Hitler's armies were making a mad dash to seize the oil fields. Times change, things stay the same and these days oil-rich Azerbaijan, the scene of Dan Wayland's The Colonel's Mistake is back on the front burner in a power play between the West, the Russians and the Chinese.

Grandma loves a good spy novel and particularly enjoyed Dan Wayland's fresh approach and change of scenery. Others have told you too much of the story already, so I won't ruin an excellent tale by adding to it. Great take-along read. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Kind of slow and can be tedious
Published 13 hours ago by Robert Przybylak
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great book
This is the second Mayland book I've read and both have been the "can't put down until it is done". I highly recommend it.
Published 5 days ago by azlee
2.0 out of 5 stars Potentially good story, but...
Mayland may have done a lot of research, but he needed more. Decker, the former Seal, comes off like a rookie cop, eager to please but no background in doing his job. Read more
Published 10 days ago by LTC LDD
4.0 out of 5 stars A father's rejection nearly kills his daughter. Foreign U.S. policy...
A retired U.S. diplomat is dragged into a situation that goes from bad to worse as he tries to stop the Chinese from completing an oil deal with Iran. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Tom
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
disappointing, Not at all what I expected what more can I say. Not for me.
Published 15 days ago by jeanne allen
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 19 days ago by nanette jakobson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
As a huge fan of Vince Flynn,I enjoyed reading another novel of espionage from a different author. Looking forward to reading more of his books
Published 25 days ago by Mary B.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing and spellbinding read!!!
Written about a part of the world I will never see in person, this novel brought it to life - the good and the bad of it. Very suspenseful, intriguing and spellbinding!
Published 26 days ago by P.L. McClane
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written wonderful suspense
Published 1 month ago by Carmel A. Reed
1.0 out of 5 stars Was not a book I cared for. it was ...
Was not a book I cared for. it was hard to keep up with his many characters. I eventually put it down and never finished the book.
Published 1 month ago by William
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More About the Author

Hi all--I wanted to let you know that I've added some things to my website that might be helpful or interesting to have while reading my Mark Sava spy-thiller novels: free MAPS, lists of CHARACTERS, links to PHOTOS of places featured in the books, a GLOSSARY, discussion QUESTIONS, and an entry form you can fill out to potentially win a free ADVANCE READER'S COPY of my next book. If you're interested, it's all at DANMAYLAND.COM.

You'll also find a full bio. Here's the short one: I grew up in New Jersey, went to Dartmouth College, travel frequently to remote corners of the world, have written articles for the, and love writing spy thrillers.

Thanks for reading,

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