They start with a photo found in Paul's study: a woman's hand holding a centuries-old scroll, once in the possession of the Nazis and now sought by the U.S. government and Muslim extremists alike.
Charles McCarry is considered by many to be the master of American spy fiction, brilliantly staking his claim with such international bestsellers as The Tears of Autumn and The Miernik Dossier. A spy writer's spy writer, he has been lauded extravagantly by the critics and his peers. George V. Higgins wrote "Charles McCarry is the Lord's best combination of spellbinding storyteller and silken prose writer." "Intelligent and enthralling," said Eric Ambler, and Jeffrey Archer praised writing that "makes one put the book down and gasp." In his magnificent new novel, with rights sold in six countries before publication, McCarry returns to the world of his legendary character, Paul Christopher, the crack intelligence agent who is as skilled at choosing a fine wine as he is at tradecraft, at once elegant and dangerous, sophisticated and rough-and-ready. As the novel begins, Paul Christopher, now an aging but remarkably fit 70ish, is dining at home with his cousin Horace, also an ex-agent. Dinner is delicious and uneventful. A day later, Paul has vanished. The months pass, Paul's ashes are delivered by a Chinese official to the American consulate in Beijing and a memorial service is held in Washington. But Horace is not convinced that Paul is dead and, enlisting the support of four other retired colleagues―a sort of all-star backfield of the old Outfit―Horace gets the "Old Boys" back in the game to find Paul Christopher. Harassed by American intelligence, hunted by terrorists, Horace Christopher and the Old Boys travel the globe, from Xinjiang to Brazil, from Rome to Tel Aviv, Budapest to Moscow, in search of Paul and the unspeakably dangerous truth.