A novel of espionage and political intrigue
Shibli Horani, an ex-Navy SEAL and veteran of Desert Storm, has quit his naval career and returned home to Texas. In the aftermath of 9/11, people are shunning Arab-owned businesses, and he finds himself struggling to care for his widowed mother and to keep the family company afloat. Since the death of his father and his heartbreaking divorce, nothing is going right.
Then a man named Jim Carlisle suddenly appears and makes him an offer difficult to refuse. Carlisle represents ICTA, the International Counter-Terrorism Agency, a shadowy and secret organization with a grandiose and seemingly patriotic scheme to eliminate terrorist organizations like al-Qaida. They need an Arabic speaker with a military background, and Shibli is their man. They are willing to pay him $1.5 million for four months work as a special courier. Wary but facing a financial crisis and eager to serve his country again, Shibli accepts and immediately finds himself in way over his head.
He learns that the ICTA has no legitimate affiliation with the federal government, and that his new employers have no respect for the laws of civilized society...nor do they have any qualms in trampling the U.S. constitution or in killing innocent people. Shibli balks at their ruthlessness, but he is in too deep to get out.
After two months of special training in Washington, D.C., he is finally told the real purpose of his clandestine mission. Scientists have developed a chemical formula called Black Harvest, a plant pathogen capable of destroying crops on a catastrophic scale. Al-Qaida has offered a huge sum of money to buy it, and Shibli's job is to deliver it to them in person. ICTA has assured him that, if all goes well, al-Qaida will never get a chance to use it. Trapped in an arena of conspiracy, global espionage, and political intrigue, he embarks on a dangerous odyssey that takes him halfway around the world. He must use his quick thinking, linguistic skills, and military training just to survive in terrorist-infested areas of Syria, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. To make matters worse, the CIA, the Israeli MOSSAD, and a band of Islamist fanatics all want him dead.
Worse than the physical danger is the psychological conflict that arises when Shibli discovers the true extent of the evil he is enabling. At the risk of everything, including his own life and the life of the woman he has come to love, he must try to stop it. Against overwhelming odds, he devises a desperate plan to prevent an international catastrophe and to bring his powerful superiors to their knees.
But, in the reality of today's world, how much can one man be expected to accomplish?