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Fire Hawk
By Geoffrey Archer

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Fire Hawk

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Fire Hawk
By Geoffrey Archer
Charnwood Large Print, (2000)
ISBN: 0-7089-9148-3
Genre: Suspense - Thriller

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - June 6, 2001

Fire Hawk opens with Sam Packer being brutally interrogated by men who he believes belong to The Mukhabarat - Saddam Hussein's secret police. A SIS (Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6) spy, Packer had been startled to learn, a few days earlier that his cover had been blown. While sitting in the lobby of a Baghdad hotel, a man walked up to him, addressed him by his real name, and handed him an envelope. He also whispered in Packer's ear that warheads armed with anthrax had been sneaked out of Iraq and would soon be used as part of a terrorist attack, somewhere in the West. Packer had only a few minutes to scribble off an ambagious message to his former lover, Chrissie Kessler, warning her of the anthrax attack, before he was picked up. Packer knew that once in the custody of the Iraqi's his chances of getting out alive would be slim, his only hope for survival was Chrissie.

Much to his surprise, and delight, a battered Packer leaves Iraq alive. Chrissie got his message and got him out. Now he must prove that the information about the Anthrax attack is true, and stop it. However, before he can make much progress, Chrissie is murdered, a murder that may be tied to the forthcoming biological attack. Packer now has three missions: find Chrissie's killer, find out who betrayed him, and stop the terrorist attack.

In this hair raising thriller, Geoffrey Archer takes the reader on a wild ride that spans the globe from Washington, D.C. to the Ukraine. Not only does he have to fight his own people, who do not believe that the Anthrax information is valid, but he also has to prove that it was not a mistake that he made that broke his cover in Iraq. Along the way he has to deal with the Russian Mafiya, which doesn't appreciate Packer's interference. Worse, during his investigations Packer unhappily finds out more about Chrissie than he ever wanted to know, information that hurts him more than the torture that he endured in Iraq.

Fire Hawk is half murder mystery, half thriller. Archer keeps you guessing, until the very end, who the various bad guy's really are. This is the first Geoffrey Archer novel that I've read, but I very much doubt that it will be my last. Archer writes with a fluid style that quickly draws you into the story and never lets you go. He easily weaves the three main subplots together, letting you follow Packer has he solves the various problems that Archer has created for him. The characters are complicated, and very, very real - as is the risk portrayed in the novel. Does Saddam still have biological weapons? How effective are the UN inspections? If the weapons exist, how likely is it that they can be taken out of the country and used? Although a work of fiction, this book will have you pondering real world events that are just as scary as those portrayed in this novel.

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