Series: CIA Spies

All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard

All the Queen’s Men by Linda HowardAll the Queen's Men by Linda Howard
Series: CIA Spies #2
Published by Pocket Star on June 1st 2000
Pages: 376
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No one knows the dangers of getting close to legendary CIA Black Ops specialist John Medina better than communications expert Niema Burdock. Five years ago, she and her husband worked with Medina on an explosive mission that ended in a tragedy. Although she has slowly recovered from her terrible loss, Niema planned never to see Medina again. Until now.
A French arms dealer is supplying international terrorists, and only Niema can plant the bugs needed to crack the deadly ring. Against her best instincts, she infiltrates the dealer's glamorous world. But when the plan goes awry, Niema and Medina must take flight in a strange land--and soon find their partnership sparked by an erotic charge. In a world of deception. John Medina has once again set Niema on a free fall into danger...and into desire like she's never known.

A trailblazing novel and an entirely enthralling read that is probably revolutionary and fresh at time of publication. ‘All the Queen’s Men’ plunges straight into action with an unforgettable heroine who is reunited with the enigmatic, legendary spy who has played a pivotal role in her husband’s death 5 years earlier.

More importantly, it’s hard not to admire what Linda Howard has done with this story; reading this over a decade later hasn’t diminished the impact of the issues of terrorism and the black market on weapons/technology that the book raises.

But above all, I loved the kickass Niema who’s the perfect combination of smart, dry and capable without venturing into TSTL territory at all. I could appreciate to a lesser extent, John Medina, because his initiation of their first sex scene together felt a little uncomfortably non-consensual, or at the very least, manipulative. But throughout, I couldn’t exactly get a read on him and even the revelation of his feelings seemed piecemeal and sparse at the end.

The build-up between Niema and John kept me on my toes and while I thought their resolution happened too abruptly – after a ridiculous climax brought about by a shopping trip (?!) – without sufficient closure, Niema/John actually do get a very cautious HEA with which I’m not entirely satisfied.