For years, Ekko Solomon has used the international power of the Rubicon Group to fight fires across the world, both in their public operations, spreading wealth and investing in troublespots to encourage the local population to grow beyond the situation in the same way that he himself once did, a former child soldier turned businessman, and through the more clandestine operations of the Special Conditions Division.
Answerable directly only to Solomon, allowing a layer of deniability between the SCD and Rubicon’s high profile work, their actions are a continuing source of concern for the other members of the board regardless of the validity of the intentions behind them or the success of their missions, most recently the foiling of a terrorist attempt to release a biological weapon six months previously.
That incident having left former Delta Force agent Lucy Keyes in the hospital, her recuperation is now almost complete, but the embers of another fire are being fanned directly beneath Rubicon as she and her colleague Marc Dane are taken in by his former organisation MI6 for direct questioning following an incident in Oslo, the extraction of an individual which went badly wrong, leaving bodies across a subway station and the target walking free.
Designated Echo One, she is thought to be Samantha Green, once part of Dane’s operational team Nomad and long believed to be dead, her present actions now casting doubt on his own integrity; if a once trusted agent has turned rogue, what guarantees are there of his own loyalty? Even as Ekko Solomon enters into battle with his own board of directors, the SCD and MI6 enter into an uneasy collaboration “in the interests of international stability” to track Echo One, but as they close in the concealed hand already holds the knife.
The fifth in James Swallow’s sequence chronicling the activities of Marc Dane, Lucy Keyes, Ekko Solomon, pilot Aristotle Silber, wheelman Malte Riis, cyberhacker Assim Kader and their associates, Rogue picks up the aftermath not only of Shadow but the threads of the earlier novels and delves deep into Solomon’s own murky history, pulling tighter in a tangled web of carefully planned revenge which will ensnare and undermine Rubicon in which the enemy is already several steps ahead.
From Scandinavia, down through Europe, across the Mediterranean and into Africa, the pace is frantic, Dane and his team finding their assets stripped from them with each encounter as information is manipulated and weaponised, turning their own resources against them in a war of disinformation and false flag operations designed to provoke existing tensions and cast doubt on the legitimacy of those who stand in the way of the sinister global ambition of the Combine.
A technothriller to be devoured as swiftly as possible, Swallow spinning multiple plates from the opening pages ready to crash them down at any moment, Rogue gives every indication of being the first chapter in the endgame of the Rubicon story as the Combine attempt to pull from their side the thorn which has persistently thwarted them, with mercenaries and assassins in pursuit across across land, sea and air, the bullets flying and nowhere to hide as both Marc Dane and Solomon Ekko face their past and wonder if there is any future beyond this.