My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.
Wow wow wow this is not what I'm here for.
"Another [danger] is that an actual government--like the secretive rulers of North Korea--might just be crazy enough to lash out with atomic bombs." ... you mean like the US did at the end of WWII because Japan wouldn't surrender?
The book wants to be a spy thriller but misses largely on the thriller aspect. I know the scientists succeed, and I have no attachment to any of the players in the story so the stakes are very low while reading. It's also difficult to get caught up in espionage antics when you know the end result is two atomic bombs dropped on civilians.
It's not worth the time. I skimmed most of the end and a lot of the middle. Wouldn't have kept reading if it weren't on NPR's Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf list.