Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child --- best known for their Special Agent Pendergast procedurals, their stand-alone novels, and the books each writes alone --- introduce readers to a new character: Gideon Crew. Gideon has a sketchy past, having been an art thief for some time. Currently he is a physicist, an outdoorsman, an actor, a jazz fan and more.
When he was 12 years old, Gideon watched as snipers and cops shot down his father even though his hands were in the air and he was unarmed. The image of his father's feet sticking out the door of the building he was exiting has stayed with him and plays a big part in shaping his whole life. As the book opens, Gideon knows who set his father up and has given his dying mother his word that he will avenge that murder. He succeeds beyond his wildest dreams and walks away from killing the guilty party. Now he feels free to move on with his life.
Gideon's success, though, turns a spotlight on him, and a government agency in charge of secret projects approaches him with a job. He is given his orders and plans how to carry them out. But of course, as in life, "the best laid plans often go awry," and his vision is messed up almost from the beginning.
Gideon's first assignment is to obtain the plans for a new weapon from a Chinese national who will be carrying it into the United States. Whatever Dr. Wu is bringing in and in whatever form could change the world. Gideon finds Dr. Wu at the airport and is shocked as he witnesses his death in a car crash in uptown New York City. When Gideon gets to him, he finds his legs smashed to a pulp. But before the man took his last breath, he whispered a series of numbers to Gideon, who takes them to a genius "tech-head" with the hope of breaking the code. A CIA agent is brought in to help with the physics of the problem, and she becomes part of the greater plan.
Throughout his skulking around, Gideon feels like he is being watched. He has picked up a prostitute who calls herself "Orchid" and uses her in a few of his shenanigans. She likes him and does whatever he asks. That is until Gideon's "shadow" catches up to her. The shadow is a Chinese man, an assassin named Nodding Crane. He and Gideon are pitted against each other, and the suspense heightens.
Gideon Crew has many issues that he cannot solve, but he is strong and manages to get the job done. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child plan to write 12 novels with Gideon as their anti-hero. Readers can be assured that, like GIDEON'S SWORD, each entry will be full of adventure and twisted plots.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on October 4, 2011