As you know from The Archivist, Matt Moretti was a decorated former Army Ranger who, injured in a helicopter crash, was forced to leave the job he loved. A mental wreck, he became an alcoholic and went to work only so that he could pay the bills and afford the enormous amount of scotch that he was determined to consume to forget what he’d lost. Han Li, in contrast, was a dedicated assassin who killed for the Chinese government without questioning the “why” of the assignment. They were complete opposites – the ideologue assassin and the alcoholic former Army Ranger.
Initially, Han Li was sent to Venice, Italy to use Matt Moretti to find the secret diaries of Mao Zedong, the location of which was only known by his sister. Also seeking the diaries was the head of the Chinese army, who had an altogether different purpose for obtaining them – to overthrow of the Chinese government due to the revelations contained within. Unfortunately, Moretti’s sister died without revealing their whereabouts and now Han Li, and the general’s assassin, viewed Moretti was the link they had to lead them to Mao’s diaries.
Moretti, of course, was oblivious to all this and was in Venice to escort his sister’s body back to the United States for burial. He didn’t initially give a flip about anything else. Therefore, when Han Li approached him to help her, he took a pass and went back to his drink. That attitude changed when she dangled in front of him the one thing he did are about – the identity of his sister’s killer and help in killing him. In their quest for the diaries, and following several near-death experiences where each saved the life of the other, their distrust of one another faded. In the end, not only did each get what they were after, but something much more. Moretti regained his self-respect and Han Li feelings for someone – something she didn’t believe possible. Following a recommendation from Han Li to her superior, she was no longer tasked with killing Moretti.
In their endeavor to recover the diary, Moretti became physically attracted to Han Li. And why not? She was tall and athletic with long brunette hair, in her late 20’s, had porcelain-like skin, and with a voice like Angelina Jolie. However, he was afraid to approach her because of his own insecurities, and also after seeing her martial arts skills dispatch several bad guys. Han Li, for her part, knew of his attraction but ignored it, focusing instead on her mission. At the end of The Archivist, for reasons she probably couldn’t explain, she kissed him before he boarded his flight back to the United States with his sister’s body. It could have been a goodbye kiss to someone she’d never see again, or letting go of feelings that were trapped with her. Moretti, not expecting what happened, didn’t know what to make of it. However, that kiss kept him awake during his flight home and for many nights thereafter thinking of the possibilities of what might have happened given another day in Venice.
That’s the way their relationship ended in The Archivist. In The Abductions, their relationship begins as friends, neither one pursuing more as they once save each other’s lives in trying to find and save the presidents. By the end of the novel they become close friends, primarily because Moretti doesn’t have the confidence to ask her to go away with him, so they can get to know each other better. He gets close – but can’t seem to make the leap.
In the next installment of the Matt Moretti and Han Li series, The Payback, Moretti will be prodded by someone who has his eyes on Han Li. This novel will be out in the middle of 2019 and will be a continuation, as far as the storyline is concerned, of The Abductions. In The Payback you’ll learn much more about Moretti and Han Li, and about Nemesis.