Five years ago a brilliant American scientist, well known in high-tech military circles, suddenly disappeared without a trace off the streets of Washington, DC.Now a professor at Cambridge University is murdered, a victim of bizarre, ancient Chinese torture methods. Counterspy Alex Hawke teams with former Scotland Yard chief inspector Ambrose Congreve to find the killer, but they soon discover that this death is merely the opening gambit in a tense and lethal game of geopolitical brinkmanship.In the United States, the president is behaving erratically and some begin to question his fitness for leadership as hostile exchanges and new technologies ramp up tensions between China, North Korea, and the United States--threatening western military superiority.With the situation edging closer and closer to the abyss, Hawke must face down a superb Chinese assassin and pull off his most daring mission yet: infiltrate enemy territory and neutralize their advantage . . . or risk the outbreak of World War III.