The Leveling (A Mark Sava Spy Novel) Paperback – 7 May 2013
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About the Author
Dan Mayland has been detained by soldiers in Soviet Czechoslovakia, lived in France, explored Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and gone mountaineering in Colombia and Bolivia. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has written articles for the Iranian.com. Mayland’s first book, The Colonel’s Mistake, was the inaugural novel of the Mark Sava series.
Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with Sava personally under attack in Baku, with an attempt on his life, a robbery at his flat and finally his expulsion from the country, all for reasons which he does not understand. He soon meets up with Daria Buckingham again, former colleague and lover, as the pair of them set off on a mission to find John Decker who has apparently disappeared. This time round the action starts in Baku, Azerbaijan, moves on to Turkmenistan and finally Iran in an exciting, absorbing and sometimes violent story. There is international intrigue and espionage involving major powers and this story hardly pauses for breath throughout.
It is helpful to have read The Colonel's Mistake first, as this rather sets the scene for the developing relationship between the three main characters. However, this is very much a standalone book which does not constantly harp back to what went before so not having read the preceding book will not spoil the reader's enjoyment of it.
I read this book very quickly and it is a story where, once you have started it, you are not going to want to put it down. I am personally looking forward to Sava and Co's next adventure.
Mark is an ex-CIA operative now working as a History professor in Azerbaijhan. He is world weary and cynical and enjoys an isolated life whilst teaching and writing a book. When he is shot at he rapidly becomes an unacceptable person and is asked to leave the country - all his possessions, his home and his book are lost to him. Trying to work out what has happened leads him to an e-mail from John Decker, an ex-US SEAL. The pictures sent by Decker have great political significance and a number of people are trying to get hold of them and to silence him. The pictures have also been sent to Daria Buckingham, his ex-colleague, and when they join together and try to work out what has happened to Decker they are chased across Eastern Europe.
This is not John LeCarre style spying, it is not subtle enough; it is really a chase and puzzle novel and comparable to a writer like Robert Ludlum or David Baldacci. What makes it stand out is the setting (this book is mainly set in Turkmenistan but also in Iran), the complex characters all of whom have been affected by a life in the shadowy world of espionage, and the understanding that not everyone involved will ever understand the whole picture. The book is well paced and engaging - you really care about what has happened to Decker, and the ends tie up very nicely. I couldn't tell you how realistic it is as I have never been to the countries described nor have I been involved in international espionage but it was internally consistent and felt believable enough for me to enjoy it immensely.
The plot isn't difficult to follow, which is good as I imagine the players and the political machinations in that region of the world are very complicated anyway.
A good read. I can't wait for more about these characters.
This is a story set in several of the countries whose names seem to end in 'stan' where our two main protagonists have become persona non grata in Baku and have to quit. At this point, a sort of superhero - Iron Man without the suit - is caught doing a spot of spying and subjected to much torture and degradation. But not before he had alerted his two friends who, naturally, get on with the job of finding him.
From this point, the story becomes an international intrigue based around the ever growing threat of a nuclear weapon production in Iran. The Chinese have their grubby fingers in the pot as do the Americans so it's up to our two Saturday matinee idols to try to save the day.
If you can keep track of how many times we move from one country to another, how many times the heroes escape the clutches of their pursuers, how Iron Man deals with his confinement, you may well enjoy the ride. It's all totally impossible, of course but then, this is an escapism book so read it on the basis that the Americans always come out on top, leaving behind them a confused enemy and quite a few dead bodies.
One of these days, Iran's nuclear power base will be forcibly diminished. This book touches the fringes but the gravity of this burgeoning business is not really the main thrust of the story. More so, the bettering of the Chinese who have taken over the role left vacant by the Russians.
Where book 3 will take us remains to be seen. The epilogue holds few clues, though with the author's experiences of the 'stans', no doubt we'll be back there soon enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mark Sava book 2. Another good read, Mayland keeps the story rolling along, always interesting and one gets to know a little about countries around the Caspian sea. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Twiggs
Half way through this book and really enjoying it so farPublished 20 months ago by keith james kennedy
Disappointing and samey, reasonably unmemorable. Gave it away, would not recommend to a friend. His other books have been better.Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
Another superb novel by Dan Mayland, continuing the intricate and complicated exploits of ex CIA operative Mark Sava. Read morePublished 22 months ago by P Reynolds
Once again Mayland has written a beautifully crafted story, further developing the characters of Sava, Daria and Decker. Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2014 by misty meanor