Ice Islands by Humphrey Hawksely is a very well-written, tightly-plotted thriller that follows Major Rake Ozenna as he takes shady instructions from an even shadier part of the White House to track down and neutralize a threat from the Japanese Mafia’s Kato family and its quest to make Japan a nuclear power.
Major Rake Ozenna mission is to meet and befriend Sara Kato and perhaps turn her against her father and brother and so provide the necessary information about the Kato mafia family. Ozenna’s contact with Saraa is planned to occur at a Peace Conference on the Finnish Aland Islands where he has been arranged as a last-minute speaker. Things go somewhat badly – the Russian President’s secret son who is a delegate at the conference is murdered and Sara is framed. Ozenna is hastily instructed to snatch and secure her, but driving from the conference venue his orders change, Sara is handed to the Finnish authorities who immediately hand her to her brother. Ozenna is extracted and returns to the US. By the time the Russian President is informed of his son’s murder, it is also known who killed him and so a high-octane political crisis escalates.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Sara Kato witnesses her eldest brother assist her other brother to kill himself in front of the family due to the shame he brought on them all while in the US. Horrified an terrified, Sara makes contact with Ozenna who, with his commander, is able to extract her briefly and acquire from her the necessary information about the Kato family’s nuclear-weapons aspiration. Then thye return her to the family as a spy/informant.
The climax involves a state of the art fishing/research ship that leaves harbour with a last-minute change of crew and the eldest Kato brother and Sara aboard, and a nuclear-armed missile also on board, on the eve of a significant day in Japanese history. Ozenna manages to get aboard too just before the ship leaves port and so the pace picks up, the climax approaches…
The plot races along so that there are no ‘quiet’ sections of the book. The main characters and most of the secondary ones are developed just enough so that the reader can develop some compassion for them and their relationships and frailties and look forward to these relationships developing more. I believe this is one of a series and This was an easy, fast read and I certainly would recommend reading more.