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Highly Entertaining Thriller

  • Jul 19, 2010
In 1984, a group of climbers are attempting to conquer Tirich Mir, the highest mountain in Pakistan. While on the ascent, one of the climbers sees an American B-52 Stratofortress in trouble; first, one of the engines is on fire, then a wing shears off. The plane crashes and sets off an avalanche, sweeping the climbers off the mountain.

In present day Afghanistan, a Taliban leader hears of a Western doctor providing care to villagers. The doctor, Jonathan Ransom, is not affiliated with Doctors Without Borders because events in the recent past have prevented him from working in an official capacity with that group. Ransom, an American, has brought medical care to a very unstable and dangerous area of Afghanistan due to his feelings of guilt for taking lives during that "event" and to put some miles between he and his estranged wife, Emma. Emma, it turned out, is an agent playing both sides of the fence; working for both American and Russian intelligence. Jonathan is not sure where her allegiances lie and has been devastated by the knowledge. While working in Afghanistan, he and his assistant are taken captive by the Taliban, they want the team to care for the ailing father of a Taliban leader. Jonathan does as he is instructed, but afterward finds himself being loaded on a helicopter with American Special Forces after a rather nasty firefight with the Taliban.

Christopher Reich's Rules of Betrayal is a thrilling page turner, the third in his series with characters Jonathan and Emma Ransom. Moving quickly from the mountains of Pakistan, to the caves of Afghanistan, to the halls of Washington, we are introduced to a paranoid, violent arms dealer, a driven, cold-blooded terrorist, and powerful men, whose motives are not clear and are probably suspect. Jonathan is cast into this maelstrom, recruited for a unique assignment which will bring him into contact with his double-agent wife, Emma. Reich knows how to hook the reader, this is a book that uses plausible scenarios and current events coupled with intense action which makes this novel difficult to put down.

There are two problems with Rules of Betrayal. First, if the reader is familiar with Jonathan and Emma Ransom, this book will build upon your knowledge. If this is your introduction to them, you will feel a little lost; Riech refers to previous incidents but does not explain them in much detail. Other characters are introduced, who are critical to the plot, but the reader has no history with them, so there are some holes in your understanding. The result is motivation to seek out the earlier novels, once this one has been completed. The second problem with the novel is a lack of explanation for several revelations in the plot. Characters come to conclusions where, logically, there are none to be drawn. As you reflect on the character's thought process, you realize that they can't be that short sighted, or that you have missed a critical piece of information. An assumption made without any supporting knowledge. Overall, however, Rules of Betrayal is a suspenseful thriller that will bring you several hours of enjoyment.

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More Rules of Betrayal [Hardcover] reviews
review by . September 23, 2010
. . . between giving this book three and four stars, and finally settled on three.     I've read quite a bit of this genre of fiction -- the whole spy/action/adventure/etc., from Ludlum to LeCarre to Rollins (and of course, Ian Fleming). I tend to enjoy the genre for light-hearted escapism which is, I suppose, the point.    I've reviewed a fair amount of this genre as well, and have noted both the good and the bad. I found the writing in "Rules of Betrayal" …
review by . July 03, 2010
When I turn to fiction there are a few authors I always have on hand ready to give myself a relaxing and entertaining read. The usual list includes Silva, DeMille and Cornwell. Today, I can add Christopher Reich to that list. I am always weary starting a book by an author I have not read before, but in this case I was pleasantly surprised. I was reading an advanced reader's copy so there were some problems; for instance, in the span of some two pages the author refers to the same type of weapon …
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Gregg Eldred ()
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It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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Starred Review. Reich's outstanding third thriller featuring Dr. Jonathan Ransom (after Rules of Vengeance) finds the courageous surgeon, who no longer works for Doctors Without Borders, in the hinterlands of Afghanistan, where he gets caught in a Taliban raid that ends with him being choppered out of a vicious firefight. As in the two previous novels, Jonathan becomes enmeshed in a mission that's run by Division, a secret U.S. government agency. The series' ongoing and fascinating twist is that Jonathan's wife, the extremely capable and extremely deadly Emma, may or may not be a Division agent, a Russian spy, or something else entirely. Jonathan willingly enters the dark world of espionage to rescue Emma after she falls afoul of Taliban warrior Sultan Haq and an evil arms dealer known as Lord Balfour. Emma's liberation of a nuclear bomb lost by the U.S. in the mountains of Pakistan in 1980 leads to an untied thread that will have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.
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ISBN-10: 0385531540
ISBN-13: 978-0385531542
Author: Christopher Reich
Publisher: Doubleday

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