The Abductions is the sequel, and the second book in the Matt Moretti and Han Li series. This novel differs from its predecessor in that Matt Moretti and Han Li have been asked by their respective governments to work together to find out why Wang Lei, a Chinese defense contractor and die-hard nationalist, has built an enormous stockpile of cruise missiles, seemingly without the government’s knowledge. President Ballinger tells this to Matt Moretti as they’re on their way to Beijing to attend the gala celebrating the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City. The president also tells him that he’s spoken to the president of China and that Han Li, the Chinese assassin who he worked with in The Archivist, will be his partner. Both presidents have left it up to them to uncover the purpose of the missile stockpile.
When the president arrives in Beijing he’s taken by motorcade directly to a palace in the Forbidden City. The president of China will occupy one nearby, and other high-ranking officials will be housed in adjoining structures, where they’ll spend the night following the gala. Prior to President Ballinger’s arrival, the Secret Service has inspected the palace in detail. They’ve looked at what’s underneath the structure with sophisticated ground penetration radar, inspected its walls with powerful x-ray equipment that exposes what’s behind, looked for secret passages beneath the hardpacked dirt underlying the palace, and anything else that could cause harm to the president during his night in the palace throne room, to which there’s only one entry door. The ancient throne, which is basically a chair with four wooden legs, is fastened to the floor and rests against the outside wall so it won’t tip over. Outside the throne room is a secret service agent and a surveillance camera. The building is surrounded by the Secret Service and, around them, is a detail of Chinese soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder. The Forbidden City has been cordoned off from the public with approximately 3,000 soldiers guarding the heads of state. That being said – the next morning both presidents, along with four ministry officials, are missing. Both the Chinese military and the Secret Service tear apart the interior of the throne rooms in which their presidents stayed – ripping up the floors to see if there’s a secret entry beneath but finding only untouched hardpacked dirt. Also tearing apart the walls and roof to look for a hidden entrance – nothing is found to explain how someone penetrated their security. Reviewing the surveillance videos, they find that no one entered or left their president’s room during the time he was inside, and that the video data has not been hacked or looped, nor was the entry door been ever left unattended. Then the unthinkable happens. Both governments receive an internet link which, when accessed, show both presidents, and the four ministers, kneeling before the flag of The Protectors of Islam. There’s also a warning – in 72 hours everyone will be beheaded unless their demands, which they give, are met.
And so, it begins. Moretti and Han Li, told by both their governments to stand down and let the professionals handle the abductions, nevertheless decide to go it on their own. What follows not only answers the reason as to why the missiles were secretly constructed, but also the real reason behind the abductions – which nobody could have foreseen.
Enjoy the read!