Grand Central Publishing, 2011, 504 pages
Nicholai Hel--genius, mystic, and the perfect, formidable assassin--was first introduced to readers in Shibumi, the classic #1 bestseller by master storyteller Trevanian. Now, critically-acclaimed author Don Winslow continues Hel's story for the first time in this all-new, blockbuster thriller.
It is the fall of 1951 and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hoda korosu or "naked kill," fluent in seven languages, and has honed extraordinary "proximity sense" - an extra awareness of the presence of danger. He has the skills to be the world's most fearsome assassin and now the CIA needs him. The Americans offer Hel freedom, money, and a neutral passport in exchange for one small service: go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union's Commissioner to China. It's almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive chaos, violence, suspicion, and betrayal while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of satori - the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.
An action-packed thriller that misses the satirical bite of Trevanian's novel.
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