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A sophisticated debut novel about a Swedish security force agent on a mysterious special assignment to the U.S., The Swede fuses the psychological tension of Jo Nesbø’s thrillers with the gripping international intrigue of I Am Pilgrim and Red Sparrow.
Ernst Grip of the Swedish security police has no idea why he’s been dispatched to a remote American military base in the Indian Ocean. Met by FBI agent Shauna Friedman, he learns that the U.S. wants him to determine whether a prisoner they’re holding is a Swedish citizen.
The detainee, known only as “N.," is a suspect in an Islamist-inspired terror attack in the U.S. heartland. Tortured by the CIA, he refuses to talk. Yet all the evidence points to a cabal of survivors from the devastating 2004 tsunami that struck Thailand: a ruthless American arms dealer, a Czech hit man, a mysterious nurse from Kansas, a heartbreakingly naïve Pakistani—and a Swede.
But the prisoner is not the only one harboring dangerous secrets. Grip hides a double life that will lead him into terra incognita, and Friedman, too, is not who she appears to be. In a world ruled by fear, mistrust, and deadly betrayal, these unlikely partners must learn to trust one another if they hope to stay alive.
Drawing on his military and diplomatic experience, Robert Karjel explores the uneasy repercussions of 9/11, illuminating the moral compromises that people—and nations—make in the name of security and survival.