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Ministers of Fire

A Novel

Mark Harril Saunders

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Prologue

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pp. 1-26

When April was gone, disappeared into the center of the world, her voice in his head would still insist that he had planned everything—not just the night in Samarkand but all that surrounded it. It was in the Burling character...

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Book One

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pp. 27-120

Lindstrom’s plane picked up speed as it sliced through the clouds; below the cover, fires burned on the ground. Smoke rose from the crossing of twin brown tracks, and he saw red-brick communes surrounded by fields...

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Book Two

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pp. 121-213

Yong and Lindstrom had spent a long night in a stable on the edge of Anhe. Attached by a courtyard to a gray mud-brick house, it stood at a place where the narrow lane from town dropped abruptly down a dirt bank...

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Book Three

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pp. 215-346

Yong and Lindstrom got to Shanghai on an afternoon train, riding in the hard-seat compartment with a nation of grandmothers, babies, and young men in blue shirts and sports jackets...

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Epilogue

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pp. 347-352

The shipping container was tightly packed with cartons, stacked on pallets two high and ten deep to the back of the long narrow space. Each box held a small motor, cushioned in Styrofoam, that weighed...


E-ISBN-13: 9780804040488
Print-ISBN-13: 9780804011402

Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Suspense fiction. -- gsafd.
  • Spy stories. -- gsafd.
  • International relations -- Fiction.
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