Author: Marshall Thornton
Publisher: Kenmore Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2019
Length: 282 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
In the summer of 1980, the news is full of the upcoming election and the hostage crisis in Iran but Patrick Henry Burke is not paying any attention. He’s met a Persian prince and his head is full of romance.
All of that changes though when a sexy CIA agent approaches him and asks that he spy on the prince and his father. They’re attempting to prevent the hostages from being released to guarantee Carter won’t win the presidency in hopes that the Reagan administration will be grateful enough to assist the prince’s father in becoming the new Shah of Iran.
As Patrick gathers information about an impending illegal weapons deal, he struggles to understand who might be lying to him and who might be telling the truth.
In the afterword of Code Name: Liberty author Marshall Thornton says he just really wanted to write a “fun, sexy thriller’. He definitely hits all three of those even though that fun part turns downright dark and dangerous about sixty percent of the way into the book. It’s right about there where our poor, oft times bumbling, Patrick Burke makes a decision and a promise that will grow increasingly harder to keep and ultimately become life threatening and not just for him.
Patrick is a college dropout—if truth be told he was expelled due to being taken advantage of and by being naïve—both of those would come back to haunt him later in life. At a party he meets a guy who swears he’s a prince and, in fact, that is exactly what David is—a Persian whose family has been deposed by the current Shah of Iran. As their relationship grows, Patrick is pulled into a situation where he agrees to spy on David and his father who supposedly is working against the release of the U.S. hostages in Iran. The CIA operative who approached Patrick for his help appears to be on the up and up until it begins to dawn on Patrick that the information he’s been fed may not really be the full truth and will turn out to include Patrick doing something that will be life-changing, to say the least.
This novel takes place during the critical hostage situation in Iran during the Carter Administration and highlights the growing hostilities between Iraq and Iran. Intertwined with the main plot about Patrick and David’s relationship are sections of white house briefings and news clips that keep us apprised of what was actually taking place during this time in history. While it may sound a bit overwhelming, the way this author plays out his story and takes his characters through what was a very tense political drama is really very well done. Perhaps it’s because I was a college student during this era and happened to live a stone’s throw from Washington DC but I found this historical tale of espionage and romance to be really exciting and fascinating to read.
I really felt for poor Patrick—he was naïve in the best of ways. Not only was he kindhearted but he was also rather pragmatic about the blows life had dealt him. Not once did he fail to see his own hand in every instance where he lost out on something yet it never changed his heart—never really made him bitter or negative. This is also precisely why the young man gets into the predicament he does in this story. It was this sweet aura about Patrick that really made me invested in what happened to him. David was a little less appealing to me due to his abrasive attitude but I could also understand that his sense of superiority stemmed from a life so vastly different than Patrick’s or any American for that matter. Plus it was he who changed the most in this story—not that Patrick was any slouch in that area either.
All in all, author Marshall Thornton was very successful in turning out the novel he intended. For me, this romantic thriller was highly entertaining and really quite marvelous to read.
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