On Christmas Day, four bombs are detonated in three different time zones: at cathedrals in Boston, Jakarta and Rome and a small church in Baden-Baden. Many are killed, including the family of Renate Bachle, a covert operative for the organization Office 119.

Though her colleagues doubt her, Renate is certain that the choice of Baden-Baden was a ploy to bring her out of hiding. Even Lawton Caine, aka ex-FBI agent Tom Lawton, can't dissuade Renate from her plan to hunt down the "Black Christmas" bombers and make them pay.

Little do they know that forces even more evil than terrorism are at work. Someone is stalking Father Steve Lorenzo on his quest for the Kulkulkan Codex in the Guatemalan Highlands and controlling the President of the United States as he contemplates nuclear retaliation against those he mistakenly holds responsible for the atrocities.

Incredibly complex and blood-chillingly plausible in the current global political climate, this story grabs hold of the imagination and heart and never lets up for a second. Top-notch. (Feb., 480 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer