Sergeant Michael Stonebridge is allowed to cut short his therapy for Craig Hanson's sniper-murder on his wife when Damien accepts to be his partner again. Section 20 resumes the hunt for the nuclear detonators, which have been traced to Niger. The duo nearly dies in a failed retrieval because of US air revenge for a CIA plan being shot down by fundamentalist Muslim rebels. They get caught, without armed backup, between nomadic Touareg independence fighters, who captured Othmami, the man who eluded them in the capital with the triggers, and El Soldat's Islamist guerrilla force from over the Algerian border, who 'cheat' bloodily at an auction. The quest shifts into the Algerian Hogar desert, with apparently innocent locals caught up.