In Berenson's previous novel we met John Wells, a spy so deep that there were concerns he had gone native. In addition to being a very intelligent thriller, it had a hero who was a Muslem and was very clear that there are peaceful Muslems and those who are fanatics. This perspective made for a very absorbing novel.
Here we have Wells coping with the stress of his previous experience (and the fact he is now known to the general public for his deeds in Times Square towards the end of the previous novel). This does not stop him getting involved when things escalate with China as a result of a maverick Chinese senior officer.
Well,I think I have seen this plot in more then a few novels, but the author tells it well. Berenson has changed Wells slightly, he is less the man that does not fit into either culture, here he is just an all action spy. And now he is more sarcastic with some good one-liners - I don't recall that from the previous one.
This bordered on the Vince Flynn Rapp novels - no bad thing but it has taken away the originality of the first novel.
So why four stars? Well I almost went three but then I realised that this had kept me turning the pages well into the night, and much as I may have seen this kind of thing before, it still kept my attention. Probably a 3.5 if I am honest. There is a third one in the pipeline and I'll be buying that so this means I must have liked it!