Alex Francisco earned his Philippine freedom as a young man fighting the Marcos military dictatorship, but he reluctantly realizes at 52 that the cost of that freedom is that he must earn it again in 2010. A mild-mannered forestry professor on a remote Philippine island, he accidentally meets a national politician with whom he has a passing acquaintance in the airport on the way to Australia for a conference. When the politician dies on route, Francisco is drawn into a fight for his life, as Philippine, US, and Australian security forces believe he learned secrets about a presidential scandal from the politician at the airport. Ramon Delgato, an old friend from their on-the-run days now living in Sydney, learns from his sources that Francisco's life is threatened and hatches a scheme to protect Francisco by putting him on the Australian Alps Trail.
An exciting chase through Canberra and on the Trail is matched by recollections by both Francisco and Delgato about their days in Philippine jungles, churches-as-havens in small villages, and a safe house in Manila. These memories are especially beautiful and poignant, as well as a terrific tracing of a troublesome time in Philippine history.
Mr. Fernandez is a software developer and regular contributor of thoughtful essays about security and defense issues on his blog. The book's descriptions of telephone-call tracing, use of GPS, and how killers-for-hire work add depth and believability to the book. Francisco's life and freedom hang in the balance from the first pages and technology, as well as on-the-run experience, are his only advantages against paid killers and desperate goverments.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly.
Wayne T. Parman