by Bruce TierneySeptember 2004
Fighting terror in today's world
<B>Fighting terror in today's world</B>Christopher Dickey is Paris bureau chief and Middle East regional editor for Newsweek magazine, an experienced combat reporter and a world-recognized expert on terrorism. In 1997, his first novel, <B>Innocent Blood</B>, was published to international acclaim. It told the story of Kurt Kurtovic, a former U.S. Army demolition expert who, on a trip to Eastern Europe, meets up with a charismatic terrorist, converts to Islam and joins forces with a Bosnian freedom force. A year passes; Kurtovic grows weary of the carnage, and realizes that killing is no good way to put an end to war. Upon his return stateside, he is recruited for one final terrorist act: to spread a mutant smallpox strain across America in an attempt to draw attention to the plight of Muslims of the Third World. In the nick of time, Kurtovic realizes that his contact is an agent of Saddam Hussein, and he aborts the mission.
Fast-forward several years to sequel-time: <B>The Sleeper</B> finds our hero, Kurtovic, back in his hometown of Westfield, Kansas. He works as a carpenter, he has married a small-town girl, and together they have a feisty and charming young daughter. Kurtovic would be content to spend the rest of his days there. Then the unthinkable happens: September 11, 2001, the end of the world as we knew it. Kurtovic must act quickly; he knows that he is uniquely equipped to stop the terrorists. His travels take him to England, Spain and Africa, and he leaves a trail of bodies at every turn. Then, his world falls apart. He phones home, only to find out that his wife and daughter have disappeared. It gets worse: the canister containing the smallpox virus is hidden in the back of the refrigerator in the cafÅ½ where his wife works, and it is only a matter of time until someone from the opposing team capitalizes upon that chilling fact.
<B>The Sleeper</B> is a tense and persuasive thriller, timely as today's headlines, of a world in the throes of chaos and panic, and one man's efforts to restore some semblance of order.