The Washington Post
An Expensive Educationby Nick McDonell
Mike Teak has a classic Harvard profile. He’s a twenty-five-year-old scholar/athlete from an upper-class family who was recruited by his godfather to work for a U.S. intelligence agency. On a covert mission in a Somali village, he delivers cash and cell phones to Hatashil, a legendary orphan warrior turned rebel leader. It’s a routine assignment until, minutes after they meet, the village is decimated by a missile assault, and although Mike escapes, his life is changed forever.
Echoing across continents, the assault disrupts professor Susan Lowell, who has just won a Pulitzer Prize for her book celebrating Hatashil. Also shaken is Lowell’s student,
David Ayan, who was born in the targeted village a world away from Harvard’s most exclusive final club, the Porcellian, which is courting him and Jane, the smart, risk-taking daughter of East Coast money who’s sleeping with him. David Ayan struggles with his identity and Susan Lowell struggles against rumors about her relationship with Hatashil, who has been accused of ordering the village massacre. But it is Mike Teak who faces a deadly strugglebecause when he discovers a horrific conspiracy he immediately realizes that he has become expendable, with nowhere to run and no one to trust.
The Washington Post
The New York Times
McDonell's third novel, a story of the messy consequences attendant upon a rogue American operation conducted against a Somalian freedom fighter, introduces a spy who could have easily walked off the pages of le Carré's better works. An American agent and recent Harvard graduate, Michael Teak has been assigned to deliver money to a band of east African freedom fighters led by local hero Hatashil. But while they're meeting, the village is decimated by a missile strike. Immediately, a mysterious story hits the wire, claiming Hatashil's men massacred the villagers. The news coincides with the Pulitzer Prize being awarded to a Harvard professor, Susan Lowell, whose book celebrates Hatashil. As Teak tries to come to terms with his own apparent expendability, Lowell fights vilification when a video that purportedly shows her pledging to kill for Hatashil surfaces. Meanwhile, an old Agency hand, Alan Green-Harvard alum and godfather to Teak-ties the stories together with his nefarious black world maneuverings. Teak is the most attractive fictional spy in quite some time, and even if the Harvard subplots feel too self-indulgent and insidery, one hopes this isn't Teak's only appearance. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Meet the Author
NICK MCDONELL was born in 1984 in New York City. A graduate of Harvard University, he is the author of two previous novels, Twelve and The Third Brother.
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Well, I did it...It was not easy, but I finished it. I really think McDonell had a story to tell, but it never came across. It definitely reminded me of someone who is tongue-tied, has so much to say/tell, but never quite gets it all out. The book was very cliche and seems to be written by someone who has never gotten their hands dirty....Good Luck if you pick this one up! Rating it 2 stars due to the plot.