Book 2 of this espionage series begins 3-years after the Romanian overthrow of Nicolai Ceaucescu, and my have things changed, and yet not really over in Romania despite everyone’s thoughts of instant democracy and booming capitalism. Our protagonist, Bill Hefflin, has left his job at the CIA after having inherited a substantial sum of money from his former KGB friend/asset, Boris. But one day during a walk he sees a sign that there is a drop for him, and the message indicates that it is from Boris, but Boris is dead and nobody knows that but Bill, so who is behind this. Thus begins a top flight espionage thriller that certainly has elevated William Maz to a premier espionage writer. There is a mole in the CIA and many consider Bill to be that person but, despite that, he is sent back to Romania to both find Boris and prove he is not the mole. What he finds is a new Romania that has been taken over by the Oligarchs, be they former members of the dread Securitate, former Communist politicians, gangs of gypsies, or others propped up by either the USA or Russia. An intricately detailed and plotted book that is refreshing in that it is not the usual US/UK/Russia thriller but instead Maz deals with Romania and the forces that are trying to control the country. Businesses and land has been privatized, and all the wealth has been transferred from the Communist government to this small handful of individuals. It is place of continues corruption and lost hopes and dreams, a place where weapon sales and smuggling rampant and Hefflin is confronted by innumerable obstacles. Filled with real individuals, along with true descriptions of the people and conditions in Romania, it is a bleak world that existed there in 1993. This is a thinking persons espionage book, and Maz is a worthy successor to the likes of Ambler and Le Carre`
On a personal note, my wife is Romanian (escaping in 1984), and I have personally been back there numerous on numerous occasions and can vouch for the realistic conditions set forth by the author. It will take generations for Romania to overcome its past, and so William Maz has a fertile location for many more great espionage books! Kudos on a great book!!!