Elizabeth Pennington has come to the war-torn South American country of Callivera to volunteer at a tiny mission. Kidnapped by the local rebels who are more interested in ransom than politics, she ends up at their camp in the Andes where she meets Finn MacGowan, member of the infamous Committee, a covert organization dedicated to destroying terrorism. MacGowan has been held hostage for almost three years, and he's chosen the night she arrives as the night he plans to escape. When he does, she follows him, heading down the steep mountainous terrain with another hostage, the teenage son of a Hollywood millionaire. Rebels, soldiers, traitors and near-drowning follows them on their journey. As they travel from the mountain fortress to a transatlantic freighter, an old cafe in Spain ending in a shootout at a farmhouse in France, MacGowan reluctantly falls in love, and Beth learns that the cynical, dangerous soldier-of-fortune might be worth saving after all.
Although I hadn't been entirely happy with Stuart's latest entries in this series I also could not resist picking up book after book and reading about this group of operatives. And the truth is that I am very happy with this story which in which the main character has a dark side but he has also a funny sense of humour and I quite liked that.
The story is much in line with the previous books. We knew that Finn had disappeared in South America and here we find out what exactly has been happening to him. Now he is on the run from his kidnappers, with two fellow hostages in toe, and they are about to discover that there is more to Finn's abduction than just money.
Finn is a tortured hero, most like almost every other Stuart here, but he never looses his humour and while he keeps being extremely provocative towards our heroine we can easily see that he is not so bad as he is pretending to be. I loved that he is a bit "rough around the edges" and has a laid back attitude that contrasts with the other ICE heroes. He is however ruthless when it is needed and he has to protect his two "travelling companions".
Elizabeth is a nice and gutsy heroine. I was a bit worried about her at first but she came through. Challenging Finn at every turn she is smart, funny and doesn't get in the way when things get tough. There's a sex scene between them, while pretending in front of a few bad guys, that reminded me of a scene in a Linda Howard book that was heatedly discussed in many romance forums at the time.
I also liked that we get to see many of the heroes of the previous books. I was sorry not to see more of Killian and Isobel and even more sorry that we won't be getting a book about Mahmoud. I think he was great ICE hero material.
I was planning to give this one a 4.5/5 but it's been a few weeks since I've read and the details are getting fuzzy which means it's not as memorable as I thought it would be while reading it. So I am lowering the grade a bit.