In Washington, D.C., Former LAPD rogue detective Nicholas Marten has come out of hiding to hunt down the killers of his childhood sweetheart. The wife of a controversial United States congressman, she and her husband and son were mysteriously murdered soon after the congressman discovered a massive clandestine bioweapons program.In Europe to meet with distinguished heads of state prior to a crucial NATO summit in Warsaw, US President John Henry Harris may well face the same deadly fate. A secret cabal within his own administration orders Harris to have the president of France and the chancellor of Germany assassinated. Refusal, he knows, will mean his death.Afraid to trust anyone, even his Secret Service protectors, the President flees for his life. Pursued by the Secret Service, the CIA, and Spanish Intelligence who believe he is the victim of foul play, Harris joins forces with Nicholas Marten and the beautiful but enigmatic French photo-journalist, Demi Picard. Together the three uncover one of the most secretive and brutally powerful groups the world has ever known, a brotherhood of blood that will stop at nothing to realize their own depraved ambitions. The assassination of world leaders, a genocidal attack on a major civilian populace with of weapons of mass destruction -- nothing is beyond them. The origin of their evil reaches back to the Renaissance when the dying political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli fashioned a sinister addendum to his most infamous work, The Prince. Titled simply The Covenant, it is a terrifying blueprint for the gaining and keeping of true political power. For five hundred years this despotic order of the supremely rich and powerful has kept Machiavelli's original manuscript hidden away under heavy guard, the document itself worshiped like some divine artifact. Bonded by complicity in ritual murder and dedicated to a singular vision of global domination, over the centuries they have prospered far beyond any dreams of power and avarice. Outmanned, outnumbered, outgunned, three people now stand alone against it: Nicholas Marten, Demi Picard and John Henry Harris, President of the United States.Book Review At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Nicholas Marten, the ex-LAPD detective who played a major role in Folsom's The Exile (2004), pursues an international conspiracy in this frenetic page-turner long on action but short on plausibility. When an old love of Marten's, Caroline Parsons, dies of a mysterious infection shortly after her congressman husband and son perish in a plane accident, her dying words set Marten on the trail of a South African bioterrorist. The former cop soon finds himself allied with another man trying to foil a cabal bent on creating a new world order--the U.S. president himself, John Henry Harris. Harris flees his Secret Service protection after rejecting the plan of virtually his whole cabinet to assassinate the leaders of France and Germany and replace them with people willing to launch biological warfare on most of the Middle East. Unconvincing hairbreadth escapes and the failure to explore underlying political issues make for a routine thriller. (Jan.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 01, 2008
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Excerpt from The Machiavelli Covenant by Allan Folsom
George Washington University Hospital,
Special Care Unit, 10:10 p.m.
The slow pound of Nicholas Marten's heart sounded like a drum buried somewhere inside him. His own breath, as he inhaled and exhaled, resonated as if it were a movie sound track. So did the sound of Caroline's labored breathing as she lay on the bed next to him.
For what seemed the tenth time in half that many minutes he looked at her. Her eyes were closed, as they had been, her hand resting gently in his. For all the life in it, it might as well have been a glove. Nothing more.
How long had he been in Washington? Two days? Three? Flown there from his home in Manchester, England, almost immediately after Caroline's call asking him to come. He'd known the minute he heard her voice something was terribly wrong. It had been filled with dread and fear and helplessness, and then she'd told him what it was: She had a very aggressive, untreatable staph infection and was expected to live only a few days more.
For all the horror and shock of it, there had been something more in her voice. Anger. Something had been done to her, she told him, suddenly whispering as if she were afraid someone would overhear. No matter what the doctors said or would say, she was certain that the infection killing her had been caused by bacteria that had deliberately been given to her. It had been then, judging from sounds in the background, that someone had come into the room. Abruptly she'd finished with an urgent plea for him to come to Washington, then hung up.
He hadn't known what to think. All he knew was that she was terribly frightened and that her situation was made all the worse by the very recent deaths of her husband and twelve-year-old son in the crash of a private plane off the coast of California. Considering the physical and emotional toll the combination of these tragic things would have had on her, and with no other information, Marten found it impossible to know if there was any basis at all for her suspicion. Still, the reality was that she was desperately ill and wanted him to be with her. And from everything he'd heard in her voice he knew he'd better get there as quickly as he could.
And he had. Within the day flying from Manchester in the north of England to London and then on to Washington, D.C., taking a taxi from Dulles International directly to the hospital, and later getting a room at a hotel nearby. That Caroline knew who he really was and the risk she dared subject him to by asking him to come back into the United States had not been brought up. It wasn't necessary. She would never have asked if something wasn't terribly wrong.
So he had come hurriedly back to the country he had fled four years earlier in fear for his life and that of his sister. Come back--after so many years and the differing paths their lives had taken--because Caroline had been and was still the one true love of his life. He loved her more deeply than any woman he had ever known and in a way that was impossible for him to describe. He knew too that even though she was happily married and had been for a long time, in some unspoken, even profound way, she felt the same about him.
Marten looked up sharply as the room door was suddenly flung open. A heavyset nurse entered followed by two men in dark suits. The first was broad-shouldered, in his early forties, with dark curly hair. "You'll have to leave, sir, please," he said respectfully.
"The president is coming," the nurse said curtly, her manner abrupt and authoritative, as if she had suddenly become commander of the suits. A member of the Secret Service.
At the same instant Marten felt Caroline's hand tighten around his. He looked down and saw her eyes were open. They were wide and clear, and looked into his the way they had that first day they met, when they were both sixteen and in high school.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you too," he whispered back.
She looked at him for a half second more, then closed her eyes, and her hand relaxed.
"Please, sir, you have to leave, now," the first suit said. At that same moment a tall, slim, silver-haired man in a dark blue suit stepped through the doorway. There was no question who he was--John Henry Harris, president of the United States.
Marten looked at him directly. "Please," he said softly, "give me a moment alone with her. . . . She's just . . ."--the word caught in his throat, "died."
The men's gaze held for the briefest moment, "Of course," the president said, his words hushed and reverent. Then, motioning to his Secret Service protectors, turned and left the room.