Island of the Assassin



Island of the Assassin is about two kinds of silence in conflict. A covert killer contracted by the CIA to target Islamic terrorists, develops moral scruples. He shares his doubts in confession with a priest who gets renditioned for receiving classified information. Unconditional secrecies collide.

“I’m hired to kill, but I never murder.”

“You still decide who dies.”

“But also who lives. I trample down death by death.”

Kai’s words came from the Easter hymn of the Orthodox Church. There was no reason why the tranquil sea reminded Peter of them as he sat in Aldo’s villa. It was not what you might call an ordinary conversation, speaking to an assassin. But it was one of many that allowed him entry into Kai’s complex mind: a labyrinth of corridors opening out on rooms leading to other corridors and other rooms. He searched for a pattern and found none—the contrasts were too violent. How could Peter reconcile a mystic with a killer’s instinct?

That conversation with Kai Landrie resulted from one a year earlier while vacationing at Villa d’Este on Lake Como. Peter had vowed not to start anything new unless he was driven by an irresistible premise, a what-if that left him in hot pursuit. For now he was resting his imagination lakeside from its feverish pitch. His reasoning was clear. He had finished a thriller called The Thirteenth Floor and edited hundreds of galleys before leaving New York. The cover design was approved; the confirmation, mailed. Two weeks remained before the hardback arrived—two weeks before the readings, signings, and overheated reviews. Meanwhile, he had fourteen days to float in an infinity pool of leisure and do nothing in five languages.      



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