THE KINGDOM OF ASSASSINS is a global political thriller taking place ten years in the future. The action begins with an attempted assassination in the deserts of Saudi Arabia that reveals threads of conflict in Iran and the United States as well. &Scaronahrazad [sic], a Saudi princess, joins forces with Detective Mike Maclaymore of the NYPD to root out a terrorist cell in New York City. As the threat becomes more tangible, the confusion as to its source seems to multiply. Is it an Iranian threat for the Saudis? A “false flag” attack by Saudi extremists against the royal family? Is the real target the United States? The clues come quickly and the threat materializes while the princess and the detective chase down the ghost identities of the terrorists.
THE KINGDOM OF ASSASSINS has both a fast-paced plot with characters that are complex and believable. The plot’s pace is due in part to the globetrotting by the characters between Europe, the Middle East and New York. The dialogue is spare but it does a good job of explaining the intricacies of spycraft and police procedures. Mile Maclaymore’s background as both a special operations soldier and a NYC police detective allows him to move effortlessly between NYPD and FBI counter terror units as he pursues his elusive suspects. The most interesting character in this book is Princess Scaronahrazad. Her name is an Arabic translation of Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights. The unconventional spelling is at first confusing but it becomes almost second nature as the plot progresses. She is a trained CIA agent tasked with protecting her country from terrorists and, as expected, is armed with the usual technology of a 21st Century spy. In addition, she practices martial arts and relaxes with afternoons devoted to falconry. Characters of this type of novel occasionally seem to be one-dimensional but the baggage of both of their pasts fleshes them out and brings them to life on the page. To complement these strong characters is a cast of overextended police, traitors and turncoats that add depth and suspense to the story. The ending does seem somewhat unresolved because of its abrupt end but the indication that another book is coming does ameliorate this.
THE KINGDOM OF ASSASSINS is a riveting thriller with many plot twists, as the protagonists race to rescue a city from disaster and a world from falling into chaos. Despite being set in the immediate future, it tells a story that really has not changed much from the present.