CIA director Thomas Stansfield is dead --and many in nation's capital are pleased to hear it. But their happiness proves to be short-lived once they learn that Stansfield's successor is the late director's close friend and protege, Dr. Irene Kennedy. Her plan of action is to pursue the very goals Stansfield established -- something Stansfield's fiercest enemies don't want to hear. And something they refuse to accept. Meanwhile, Israel has discovered that Saddam Hussein is close to entering the nuclear arms race -- and they've vowed to stop the Iraqi madman before he can get his hands on the ultimate weapon. With the Middle East teetering on the precipice of chaos and devastation, the president of the United States is forced to act. The commander in chief's secret weapon? None other than the CIA's top counterterrorism operative, Mitch Rapp.