Ministers of Fire by Mr. Mark Harril Saunders
A Novel

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A Washington Post 50 Notable Works of Fiction Selection “Starred” review in Publishers Weekly.

A Wall Street Journal Top Ten Mysteries of 2012 Selection.

Ministers of Fire opens in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1979, where, the author writes, “the world we know was born.” CIA station chief Lucius Burling, an idealistic but flawed product of his nation’s intelligence establishment, barely survives the assassination of the American ambassador. Burling’s reaction to the murder, and his desire to understand its larger meaning, propel him on a journey of intrigue and betrayal that will shake his faith in himself and in his country.

Fast forward to Shanghai in the spring of 2002: his marriage and career blown off course, Burling lives quietly as the American consul, but the attacks of September 11 threaten to bring his misadventures in Afghanistan back to the surface. A Chinese dissident physicist may be planning to sell his country’s nuclear secrets, and Burling recognizes the fingerprints of a covert operation, one without the obvious sanction of the Agency.

The dissident Yong’s escape route winds through an underground railroad of unauthorized churches and activists’ homes, drawing the violent attention of General Zu Dongren of the Chinese internal security service and his devoted lieutenant Li Xin. Drawn inexorably into their path, Burling must face both the ghosts of the past and a present world of global trafficking, fragile alliances, and the human need for connection above all.

Reminiscent of the best work of Graham Greene and John le Carré, Ministers of Fire extends the spy thriller into new historical, political, and emotional territory.

About Mr. Mark Harril Saunders

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Mark Harril Saunders was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area and holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia, where he was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. He has traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, and China. His writing has appeared in the VQR, Boston Review, and the Virginian-Pilot, and in 2001 he was awarded the Andrew S. Lytle Prize for fiction from Sewanee Review. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and three children.
Published May 21, 2012 by Swallow Press. 362 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, War, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ministers of Fire

Publishers Weekly

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Unbeknownst to Lucius, the man helping Beihong is an old compatriot from the CIA’s Afghanistan operations, Jack Lindstrom, who left the agency after his wife disappeared into the hands of the mujahideen.

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Ministers of Fire: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

At one point in the book, Burling reflects: “Since he had quit the Agency, he had enjoyed flying into other countries with the knowledge that his papers were in order, he was who he said, but now he felt that this sense of identity had been one more illusion: parts of himself were scattered every...

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San Francisco Chronicle

The atmosphere is electric as CIA Kabul station chief Lucius Burling and the Dari-speaking wife of another American operative - her name is April, but she promises nothing but late winter - meet up with a ragtag troop of Afghan tribal warriors and a Chinese agent.

May 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Ministers of Fire: A Novel

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