by Gerald Seymour
Hodder and Stoughton
Jericho’s War opens with the sort of scene that has inspired nightmares around the world. A British agent, Corrie Rankin, is working undercover as an aid worker in Syria when he is captured by terrorists. One of the more threatening members is British, but instead of coming on like Jihadi John, Tobias Darke becomes Rankin’s unlikely saviour. As openings go, it is claustrophobic, tense and oddly elegant. A typical Gerald Seymour thriller, in other words. The action moves swiftly to Yemen. Darke is now working undercover himself: code name Belcher, which is burpingly uncool as code names go. Belcher has learned that al-Qaeda is plotting to blow up a plane and is putting finishing touches to the plan in a nearby village. Moreover, two of the organisations’s most feared but mysterious leaders will be in attendance. This pair are so mysterious they are known only as the Emir and the Ghost. Rankin’s mission is to decapitate the dastardly duo. Adding flesh to these bones is some transatlantic shenanigans: Brits trying to outdo Yanks, whose drones patrol the region. All the interested parties converge on the snappy conclusion.