Working undercover overseas is the furthest thing from Roy Mancini's mind. Then he responds to a “classified ad from heaven,” seeking someone to set up and run a new office in Asia. At last this mysterious client is revealed to be The Institute, a human intelligence (humint) task force that reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After The Institute hires Roy and trains him in the craft of espionage, he moves to Southeast Asia where he lives under deep cover as a coffee bean trader.
Following the recruitment of a clandestine agent from the island of Bali employed as the radio operator on a cargo ship chartered to North Korea, Roy befriends Sasha Popov, a Russian shipping executive, bon vivant, and jazz pianist. Popov is in fact a senior KGB officer whom Roy skillfully manipulates and recruits, driving him to reveal secret information about KGB covert operations.
As dots are connected, the confluence of intelligence provided by the Balinese agent and the Russian “mole” leads to the discovery of a potentially deadly international conspiracy—and leaves Roy Mancini to prevent a terrorist plot of catastrophic proportions.
Stanton Swafford was born in Los Angeles and grew up along the beaches of Southern California. He attended the University of Colorado and the University of the Philippines, where he majored in economics and Asian Studies. He speaks Indonesian, Tagalog, and Mandarin Chinese. Stanton served aboard submarines in the United States Navy during the Cold War era, one of which was the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine. During his period living, working, and playing in Southeast Asia-in the Philippines, Singapore, Malacca, Malaysia, and Bali, Indonesia-he operated undercover as an intelligence officer, ran a timber export company, and performed throughout the region as a jazz musician. His debut novel, China Sea, portrays a plot and settings derived from that experience. Stanton is an avid tennis player and sailor, as well as a self-taught musician who continues to play piano and lead his jazz band. He lives in Southern California with his wife and son, Louie.