When marine engineer and very part-time spook Tom Dugan becomes collateral damage in the War on Terror, he's not about to take it lying down. Falsely implicated in a hijacking, he's offered a chance to clear himself by helping the CIA snare their real prey, Dugan's best friend, London ship owner Alex Kairouz. Reluctantly, Dugan agrees to go undercover in Alex's company, despite doubts about his friend's guilt. Once undercover, Dugan's steadfast refusal to accept Alex's guilt puts him at odds not only with his CIA superiors, but also with a beautiful British agent with whom he's romantically involved.
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As Tom Dugan and Alex Kairouz, his partner and best friend, struggle to ransom their ship and crew from murderous Somali pirates, things take a turn for the worse. A US Navy contracted tanker with a full load of jet fuel is also hijacked, not by garden variety pirates, but by terrorists with links to Al Qaeda, changing the playing field completely. With a possible link between piracy and terrorism now in play, the US and British governments order the halt of all negotiations for captive ships, and enraged pirates ratchet up the mistreatment of the captive crews.
Dugan's attempts to help his friends rescue an innocent girl from the Russian mob plunge him into a world he'd scarcely imagined, endangering him and everyone he holds dear. A world of modern day slavery and unspeakable cruelty, from which no one will escape, unless Dugan can weather a deadly crossing.