Andreas Norman, a former diplomat in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was deeply involved in counter-terrorism work and Sweden’s role in the Arab Spring. In his debut novel, Into a Raging Blaze, Norman uses his insider knowledge to create a mesmerizing espionage thriller that reverberates with authenticity.
In September 2011, things are going well for Carina Dymek. The intelligent, determined young woman has expertly carried out her duties as EU Coordinator for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A promotion is likely any day now.
She’s moved past her divorce and found true love in the arms of Jamal Badawi, an Egyptian-Swedish national. And she’s been chosen to represent Sweden at an international meeting in Brussels on joint security policy. But she gets far more than she bargained for at the conference, when a nervous-looking man who only identifies himself as “Jean” approaches her during the lunch break outside and presses a USB storage device into her hand with little explanation. Carina is shocked and disturbed by what the contents of the letter reveal: High-level plans for a new pan-European intelligence service, bound by few if any national laws or international rules of conduct in its surveillance, arrest, and interrogation protocols. And its objectives are equally questionable, with a clear agenda to curb foreign immigration into the EU, and freely violate civil rights for the sake of pre-empting Arab terrorism.
When Carina dutifully presents the documents to her superiors at the MFA, they are not happy. Before long Carina is suspended, escorted from the building by security, and under investigation by SAPO, Sweden’s Intelligence Agency. Initially SAPO agent Bente Jensen—another strong, resourceful woman—focuses on the question of how a rank-and-file MFA employee obtained this ticking time bomb of intelligence.
The stakes rise for both Carina and Bente when the British MI6 muscles in to Sweden, intent on affecting a quick resolution to the situation—and by any means necessary. They’re particularly interested in Dymek’s connection to Badawi, whom they know to be the nephew of a Muslim Brotherhood leader under numerous counter-terrorism investigations. MI6 wants Badawi’s uncle, and they want to be sure anyone with information about the secret intelligence service is definitively silenced. So when they learn of Carina’s relationship with Jamal, they see a possible opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
In the tradition of the classics works of espionage fiction, this gripping debut novel captures the ways in which spies and diplomats are occasionally swept up into the grinding gears of international intelligence operations—often with devastating human costs. Download and start listening now!