Follow Here To Purchase Moitz (Zhena)

Author: Michael Pennington

ASIN: B0071FNYCS (Kindle Edition)

In 2009’s Zhena, author Michael Pennington introduced one of the most original lead characters in spy fiction. Susan Anderson, wife of a submarine commander and mother of two, is living the ordinary life of a military spouse. Or so she thinks. Then, someone tries to convince her that her real name is Sasha and that she’s really a sleeper agent for the old Soviet Union. The problem is, twenty years after she was deployed, the chemically-induced burial of her past doesn’t properly respond to the post-hypnotic triggers implanted in her memory. Suddenly, Susan becomes aware of a voice in her mind that can quickly analyze dangerous situations and offer calculated options to deal with them. On top of that, she discovers she has frightening abilities she didn’t realize she had, especially in physical combat against better-armed foes that outnumber her. Opponent after opponent try to capture her and fully reawaken her dormant if haunting memories of “Sasha,” but apparently no one can master one woman who can seemingly take out small armies. After all, not only does Susan have a “Voice” she doesn’t understand, she’s also a resourceful and intelligent woman on her own terms.

By the end of Zhena, it seems the activation of the sleeper network has been stopped, that Susan can resume the life she has become accustomed to, but she knows a personal mystery remains lurking in her sub-conscious. Then, in 2010’s Dohch, Susan learns the Russians are still after her. Her old handler, Vladimir, has pieces of the puzzle but those tracking her down this time are far better equipped to bring her in. Turns out, the man who hopes to re-awaken Sasha is her biological father, the man who created the process that split her mind into three parts—Susan, Sasha, and the powerful “Voice.” This time, the story ends with Susan on the run from both the Russians and the U.S. government who see her as a dangerous terrorist. Only one FBI agent named Ed Pasari is sympathetic and has the only means to contact her.

Now, Susan returns in Moitz when, once again, forces from her distant past want a reckoning. Only this time, the enemy pulling the strings is another alumni of the sleeper program who blames Sasha for her own lost years. With equal abilities to Susan, this foe can manipulate all the factors to draw Susan out of hiding, notably putting Susan’s family in jeopardy. In this sequel, the story has become a multi-layered adventure with scenes leaping back and forth between Susan’s search for answers, the FBI’s involvement—including a traitor and those discovering his duplicity—what Susan’s husband and son suffer as they battle would-be kidnappers, a romance for Ed Pasari . . . In short, this is a fast-paced read that builds in suspense with one of the most surprising conclusions a novelist could imagine. Of course, “conclusion” isn’t really the best term—clearly, the saga has not ended.

While Moitz can be enjoyed as a stand-alone thriller, it will certainly be better appreciated by readers who’ve read the first two books. The first chapters do their best to bring the reader up to speed, but the various story-lines begin so quickly and spread out over the various characters in short order, so if you don’t know the proceeding history, it can become a confusing task to figure out who’s who. For Pennington fans, the good news is that he’s not getting repetitive and instead is expanding the importance of the supporting cast of characters. As Susan learns more about her past, she’s also learning she has a responsibility to atone for her own actions. So start with Zhena, work your way through Dohch and catch up to Moitz. You’ll be glad you did as we wait for part four.

Follow Here To Purchase Moitz (Zhena)