When ex-Navy SEAL Nolan Kilkenny is invited to Rome to consult on the functioning of the Vatican Library, he is still grieving the death of his wife and son and welcomes the distraction of the seemingly simple assignment. But Pope Leo XIV has a startlingly different task in mind for him.In a private audience, Kilkenny learns of an unreported atrocity committed against the underground Church in China and its link to Yin Daoming, the long-imprisoned Bishop of Shanghai who has served 30 years of a life sentence in a Chinese laogai for refusing to renounce the Church of Rome. The aging pope then reveals the dangerous truth about Bishop Yin, a secret that he has kept for over 20 years. Decades of diplomacy have failed to end China's persecution of the Catholics loyal to the pope, or to free Bishop Yin. The pope wants Yin free and asks Kilkenny to devise a plan to accomplish this seemingly impossible task.
With help from the U.S. president, American Special Forces, and the CIA, he assembles a team of 10 men and one woman that will use some of the most advanced weapons, aircraft, and computer technology to execute this extraordinary mission.