From the award-winning author of Angelmaker and The Gone-Away World: a novel at once deeply heartfelt and headlong thrilling-about parenthood, friendship, and secret identities, about heroes of both the super and the everyday kind. Exhausted by a hard tour of duty in Afghanistan, Sergeant Lester Ferris is sent to occupy the largely ceremonial post of British consul in Mancreu. This larcenous island is facing impending ecological disaster-which makes it, in the meantime, the perfect spot for the international underworld. Hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: spies, arms dealers, offshore hospitals, money-laundering operations, drug factories, and torture centers. Lester's brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye, which he's happy to do. In his downtime, he's made a friend: a brilliant, Internet-addled, comic-book-addicted street kid who might, Lester hopes, become an adopted son. But when violence erupts, the boy suddenly needs Lester to be more than just an observer: he has no choice now but to rediscover the man of action he once was-and find out what kind of hero he might become.
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"Matt Bates is the voice of this story about heroesÑand the need for them. The lackluster former British colony of Mancreu is scheduled for demolition; its active volcano is releasing deadly bacteria into the atmosphere. In addition, an international criminal ring known as the Black Fleet is anchored off its coast. Lester Ferris, a nearly retired Army sergeant, is now Great BritainÕs representative in Mancreu. There he meets an Internet-savvy, comic-book-loving orphan who needs the guidance of a father. Bates imbues Ferris with all the weariness of a veteran marking time to his pension. He also provides a quick staccato delivery for the fast-talking boy who urges Ferris to be the hero he needs. Even the American character is given a voice that fits him to a tee. M.C. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine"
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