finished reading

I'm a fan of Ken Follett's historical fiction works--Pillars of the Earth is one of my top ten favorite books of all time, and I've read plenty of his thrillers.  But it's been a while since I've read one.  I got sucked into the exciting plot threads and was pleasantly surprised at the number of strong females in leading roles.  The characters are individuals caught up in a web of world events.  I like how he does that.  

I didn't like that these carefully crafted intelligent, strong women were consumed by love.  It detracted from the immediacy of the international entanglements.  Plus there is mansplaining.

So, I don't really know how I feel about this book.

From the publisher:
In the Sahara Desert, two elite intelligence agents are on the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists, risking their lives—and, when they fall desperately in love, their careers—at every turn. Nearby, a beautiful young widow fights against human traffickers while traveling illegally to Europe with the help of a mysterious man who may not be who he says he is.

In China, a senior government official with vast ambitions for himself and his country battles against the older Communist hawks in the government, who may be pushing China—and its close military ally, North Korea—to a place of no return.

And in the United States, Pauline Green, the country's first woman president, navigates terrorist attacks, illegal arms trading, and the smear campaigns of her blustering political opponent with careful and deft diplomacy. She will do everything in her power to avoid starting an unnecessary war. But when one act of aggression leads to another, the most powerful countries in the world are caught in a complex web of alliances they can't escape. And once all the sinister pieces are in place, can anyone—even those with the best of intentions and most elite skills—stop the inevitable?

Never is an extraordinary thriller, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.

#52bookclub prompt 24: a cover without people on it.

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