Paula and Shadar receive tickets from the conductor to Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Chicago Lyric Opera. They stop by his dressing room after the performance, where Paula learns that Mikhail and Shadar had been college roommates at the Afghan Polyteknic Institute--or "spy school," as Shadar jokingly calls it. The two old friends get reacquainted as Paula watches in awe. Shadar has adapted remarkably well to life in the States since the two of them left Afghanistan—so much so that she wonders why she ever questioned it. They have been living together in Chicago and plan on marrying in June.
As Mikhail opens a bottle of champagne and offers a toast to the young lovers, he suddenly clutches his heart and collapses to his knees. Shadar grabs him, helps him to the floor and out of his tie while Paula runs for help. By the time she returns, Mikhail is dead.
The initial autopsy shows death by natural causes; Mikhail had suffered a massive stroke. But Shadar suspects otherwise and puts in a call to some contacts in the Afghan Underground.
It has been nearly two years since Shadar left the Afghan Secret Police—a double agent working to expel the farangi invaders from his homeland--but when his former employer tells him Mikhail had been active in putting down an uprising in the Iraqi capital, he and Paula depart for Baghdad. There, he helps Coalition Forces and the new Iraqi government quell the rebellion, then prepares to return to the States with Paula when the Afghan Underground gains word of fighting spilling over into neighboring Iran. There, the bloodiest battles are being fought over Islam.
The young couple hop a train to Tehran, where Shadar is supposed to help set up the Iranian Underground Resistance Movement--the "Underground Opera"--before returning to the States. But when they arrive, Shadar is missing. Paula, left alone in a strange land, a Roman Catholic in a country run by Muslims, is victimized and terrorized, all the while trying to learn the location of her husband. When she innocently stumbles into the hands of the Underground, she is elated. Surely they can help her find her lover. But when she learns it is the wrong Underground--controlled by the dreaded Iranian secret police—she faces a life of torture and abuse, of savagery and even murder. Only her quick thinking, and some contacts she has kept from her last trip to Asia, are able to save her.
But her work in Iran is not complete. When she uncovers by accident the death of her ex-husband Bob, she stumbles upon the one clue that could lead her to her beloved Shadar. But will she have the cunning to find him and the strength to free him? And will she arrive in time, as the bloody civil war threatens to burst open any day. Only time--and the Underground Opera—will tell.
NOTE: All material is copyright protected. No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically, mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author. All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers. Copyright 2009 by The Swetky Agency
-AGENCY PROPERTY INDEX -AGENCY HOME -