It is 1902, and a bright, inexperienced young man named Isaac Bell, only two years out of his apprenticeship at the Van Dorn Detective Agency, has an urgent message for his boss. Hired to hunt for radical unionist saboteurs in the coal mines, he is witness to a terrible accident that makes him think that something else is going on, that provocateurs are at work and bigger stakes are in play.
Little does he know just how big they are. Given exactly one week to prove his case, Bell quickly finds himself pitted against two of the most ruthless opponents he has ever known, men of staggering ambition and cold-bloodedness . . . who are not about to let some wet-behind-the-ears detective stand in their way.
The sixth Isaac Bell adventure takes us back to the beginning of Bell’s career as an operative for the Van Dorn Detective Agency. It’s 1902, and Bell is a raw young detective, his keen intellect and jump-in-with-both-feet attitude untempered by experience. When he manages to convince his boss to let him prove that a run of sabotage in coal mines is more than the actions of some union activists, Bell soon finds himself with some very powerful and determined enemies. Fans of the Isaac Bell series will note the same exciting storytelling and vivid early-twentieth-century setting, but they’ll also note something different: even though it’s set only four years earlier than the first Bell novel (2008’s The Chase), the book features a much different Isaac: younger, more impetuous, less calmly analytical. The Isaac Bell series is by far the most interesting and enjoyable of Cussler’s current output, and this origin story (every hero needs one) will give Bell’s fans a fresh look at their favorite private investigator.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cussler has done better than many at employing coathors to help carry the load of multiple series demanding new installments. The Bell novels continue to show the Cussler industry at its best, commercially and literarily.
— David Pitt