During her 28-month stint in the Israeli Defense Force, Sonya acquired skills her mother would have considered abhorrent. Firing an M89SR sniper rifle and watching its 7.62-millimeter rounds punch through a target at 400 meters had aroused her in a curious way. She later read in one of Maryna’s medical journals that shooting a firearm can excite the same neurotrans-mitters in the brain as a passionate kiss. Sonya found the gun a more predictable thrill.
Deployed at 18 to the West Bank, her linguistic talent had been an asset to AMAN, IDF’s intelligence wing. In Hebron, still seething three years after the Purim uprising that followed an American settler’s mass-murder of 29 Palestinians in the mosque, Sonya’s fluency in Arabic proved useful at “Stalk,” AMAN Unit 504’s secret interrogation facility. She learned to play good cop/bad cop with al-Qassam prisoners, track the movements of HAMAS operatives from the rooftops and even read their lips through her rifle scope.
It was the bird woman in Khan Yunis that finally asphyxiated any moral ambivalence Sonya retained from her mother’s liberal politics. She felt not the slightest remorse when an Apache helicopter rammed Hellfire missiles down the throat of some monster who had sent a child shahid [witness] across the Green Line strapped into a vest sewn with ball-bearing-packed pipe bombs. But this woman with the birds seemed different, the loving way she handled, fed and spoke softly to them, from what Sonya could see perched above the city streets. Yes, she was one of Yassin’s soldiers, dedicated to the obliteration of Sonya’s adopted country, but there was something about the bird woman—something unexpectedly human—that made Sonya hesitate to follow her “intercept” instinct.
Her hesitation had cost two callow IDF soldiers their lives when they stopped to admire the woman’s birdcage and failed to notice her moving for cover. After her Semtex-packed cage cratered the street, the soldier’s scattered remains had to be scraped off the walls and cobblestones by a ZAKA team, then carried away in plastic bags for a reverent burial while Sonya watched helplessly through her scope. In a moment of impotent remorse, she had cried for those birds.
Never again would she make a mistake like that, finally certain that the only way to prevail against ideological fanatics was to become more ruthless
than they were.
The Missing Peace is now available as a Kindle ebook or a paperback on Amazon:
“The Missing Peace has a cinematic quality to both the prose and the way the story moves between different characters and countries that I found wildly engaging. The setting was described with an aerial quality and an eye for detail emphasizing its sweeping scope.”
— Masie Cochran, senior editor at Tin House
“A great story, powerful characters and a plot that rings devastatingly true.”
— Frank Viviano, National Geographic journalist, former war
correspondent for The San Francisco Chronicle and author
of Blood Washes Blood
“Red Sparrow meets The Kite Runner. Beautiful, so well-written and a compelling story.”
— Holly Lynn Payne, author of The Virgin’s Knot,
The Sound of Blue and Damascena
“Joyce’s novel is one that overflows with vivid particulars…The thrills come in seeing how all the aspects of this multifaceted world will eventually come together…this gripping spy tale offers entertaining
and realistic details."
— Kirkus Reviews
The Missing Peace blurs all the boundaries between fiction and fact, intrigue and romance, adventure and literature. Inspired by extensive travels in the Middle East and Central Asia, and a long-time love affair with the classic Cold War spy novels of John Le Carré and Len Deighton, this upmarket thriller draws heavily on factual events and technical details, all footnoted for easy reference.
Israeli scholar, Sonya Aronovsky, enlists a Harvard Jesuit professor to help her translate and locate the source of a mysterious manuscript she has found in her late mother’s possessions, believing it holds the key to where her father, a Soviet-era helicopter pilot, went missing in action twenty years ago.
But Father Daniel Callan’s brilliant student—and former lover—is not who he thinks she is. In fact, Sonya is a deep-cover Mossad agent running a sting operation to ensnare “Wild Boar,” the sadistic arms dealer who brokers missiles to conflict zones and traffics girls for his sex club in Istanbul. Her irresistible bait is a dozen “suitcase” tactical nuclear weapons, which Sonya believes her father was secretly transporting out of Afghanistan in 1989 when his gunship mysteriously disappeared in the Hindu Kush mountains.
The action and smoldering romance ignite as Sonya and Danny are tracked by Ukrainian hit men, Russian mercenaries and CIA drones. Their expedition leads them to a fantastic archaeological find where Sonya must sift through an arcane history for clues to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, and race against time
to locate his deadly cargo before Wild Boar does.