Maya Brown, frustrated by the insular nature of life with her nan during the summer holidays, becomes embroiled in her mother’s life of fighting terrorist activity. Maya uncovers classified information that Islamic Fundamentalist cells are operating in a unified manner rather than independently and are hatching a plan to encircle the whole of Europe in a ring of fire.
With the motive made clear, it now falls to Maya to help prevent this. The book becomes a lightning-fast, high-octane thriller. Maya forms an uneasy alliance with the enigmatic Khaled and must decide whether or not she is able to trust him or whether he is a traitor seeking to undermine her. Although the narrative follows the conventions of many spy thrillers and thereby feels familiar, where Circle of Fire differs is in its political awareness. It also explores motivations and extremism and gives a careful account of the tenets of Islam, helping to distinguish those beliefs from some of the more extreme actions committed in its name that have dominated the media. The book’s success lies in the fact that such explorations of motive and meaning do not slow down the page-turning urgency that lies at the heart of all thrillers.