13 June 2013

The Spy Who Came In From the Web

This thriller starts with Steve, a former employee of a surveillance agency, contacting a libertarian-minded reporter and making a very public disclosure of government secrets. Though many professionals and outside observers say Steve’s revealed nothing new, the US government makes a lot of noise about arresting him. Steve holes up in Hong Kong with his Chinese-Australian girlfriend Rosalie and starts speaking to the Chinese press about what he spirited away from his last job on a thumb drive.

The Chinese intelligence agency decides to steal Steve’s thumb drives, figuring there’s even more information on them than he and the news media have revealed. Unknown to the Chinese spies, the US government wants them to do exactly that. The whole defection has been a way to get tracking software and bugs installed on those thumb drives into the mysterious Shanghai compound where the best Chinese hackers work.

But in the process of stealing those thumb drives, the Chinese intelligence agency kidnap Rosalie. Or were those men from Hong Kong’s criminal triads? Now Steve has to rescue his girlfriend without the help of US intelligence. Or was she an agent, too, just pretending to be his girlfriend and encouraging him to defect? And if they can’t get the thumb drives, will any of the government agencies be willing to work with Steve and thumb screws instead?

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