Book Review #2 - Lion of Babylon, book One in the Marc Royce Adventures

After the death of his wife, Marc Royce, former CIA agent, just tries to make it from one day to the next as an accountant. But when his old boss comes to visit, Marc finds out that his best friend and someone else, both CIA operatives, have been kidnapped in Bagdad and no one on either side of the line wants them found.

Landing in Bagdad, Marc sets out for information, finding some and also finding trouble. The high tensions of the Iraqi people reveal the strain of the times as everyone is eager to forget the last dictator, Saddam Hussein.

Sameh el-Jacobi is an Iraqi lawyer with a passion for saving the innocent. But when an esteemed leaders son is taken, Sameh comes to realize that the kidnappers want more than ransom. Having had dealings with Americans before, Sameh finds himself appointed as Marc Royce's guide. The two get to know each other eventually finding out that they might be able to benefit one another.

When Marc hears of the kidnappings, he temporarily turns to this new mission, yet still digging for any info on his friend. During his visit to the Green Zone, he learns that not only are the two CIA operatives missing but an American missionary woman and the son of a wealthy Iraqi as well.

The situation begins to come to light but Marc finds himself stumped when trying to seek the help of the US government. Sameh, likewise, finds that no one wishes to speak on the matter.

Meanwhile, talk of a new government regime arising inflames the stout muslim leaders but the young and restless find it hopeful. While political powers play chess, Marc and Sameh join up with a well-trained Iraqi police force and make a name for themselves, ousting potential terrorists, and rescuing kidnapped children. The public thrill, leaving the groups enemies sulking in corners but the worst is far from over as the group find it harder and harder to get the information they seek. Using his training, Marc gathers his group and prepares for the mission that might just be his last.

My Opinion
After reading Gold of Kings, I thumbed through the books on our shelves and found this one. It sounded like a good one to try so I did. And I am glad I did. I consider this even better than the first I did a review on. Which has nothing to do with which scenario is more to my taste. In fact, the treasure hunting plot immediately grabs my attention while the political, military plot is not usually my first pick. The plot holes I saw in Gold of Kings were nonexistent in this novel. Bunn did an absolutely excellent job in weaving this tale of suspense. Now I am sad that I don't have the second book, Rare Earth, just as you will be if you read Lion of Babylon and don't have the second book.

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