Pirate Alley by Stephen Coonts
The reader is introduced to CIA operative Tommy Carmellini in the prologue of this page-turner. Carmellini is running a secret operation in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, where his team snatches a computer geek working for one of the worst pirates in Somalia. Chapter One begins aboard a luxury cruise in the Gulf of Aden, close to Somalia, and the reader knows the two threads will connect pretty soon.
Mr. Coonts is undoubtedly one of the masters of the action thriller. There are battles and stealth operations, fast-paced dialogue and the political and strategic discussions in the background. The storyline moves fast, with barely a moment or two for the reader to think about what just happened and what will happen next.
The cruise falls prey of Somali pirates, determined to ransom all its passengers. The Americans put together a brave operation to cut off the cruise engines, but the operation is unsuccessful. The passengers are moved off the ship, to an old, ruined fortress. Ransom is sought, but Al-Qaida also seems to have some interest in these hostages, and they are not interested in money.
What will Carmellini do? How will he save the hostages? What will be the true cost of this operation to everyone involved?