- Book: The Reykjavik Assignment
- Location: New York City (NYC), Reykjavik
- Author: Adam LeBor
Thriller set largely in NEW YORK
The Reykjavik Assignment is, despite the clue in its title, a thriller set largely in New York (to be precise for 332 out of 448 pages in the edition I read…). Not that this in any way detracts from a quite excellent, very well written, and exciting read – but it did leave me feeling a little short changed – given that TripFiction is all about location and I am our Iceland expert!
Yael, mid 30s and ex Israeli Secret Service (but that is not generally known), has risen through the ranks of the UN to become a covert negotiator and special assistant to the Secretary General, Fareed Hussein. Pretty much everything she does is deniable… The UN is full of spies, half truths, and downright deception. What you see in public is not what you get in private. The intrigue extends to the international press corps – who on occasion work with, and on occasion work against, their alleged colleagues. Al Jazeera, The Times of London, and the New York Times make strange bed-fellows… It all sounds pretty far-fetched until you remember that Adam LeBor is a very respected foreign correspondent who has covered many stories that intimately involve the UN. There is something of a ring of truth and authenticity about the way he writes… Fareed Hussein’s UN past is murky, and one of the drivers of the murkiness is his and the UN’s role in the 1995 massacre of Srebrenica towards the end of the bloody Balkans conflict. Adam was a correspondent on the ground covering the war. Similarly he puts forward a strong theory that implicates the UN in the 1994 massacre of 800,000 members of the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda. Realpolitik sometimes seems to rule the day… The Reykjavik Assignment (and the stories woven into the book) are, of course, fiction – but it does make you think.
The main plot of The Reykjavik Assignment is about the desire of the American President, Renee Freshwater, to meet with her Iranian counterpart, Shireen Kermanzade to sign a ‘peace’ agreement between the two of them. The meeting is set as a private, top secret, side event to a UN Climate Conference in Reykjavik. Yael’s role is to act as bodyguard, and make sure everyone returns home safely. But not everyone wants to see a peace accord signed. Some Middle East security services, and some major commercial interests, fear the consequences.
The tension in Reykjavik builds to a quite startling and frightening conclusion. No more for fear of a spoiler.
The Reykjavik Assignment bowls along, and is a real page turner. It also makes you think what kind of world we live in and what we mere mortals may not know about what is being done in our name.