CIA agent Ryan Kealey has no time to wrestle his demons. Former U.S. soldier Jason March, one of the world's deadliest assassins and Ryan's former protégé, is now working with a powerful terror network whose goal is nothing less than the total annihilation of the United States.
Ryan puts together the pieces of a terrifying puzzle. With the fate of the country resting on his shoulders, he finds himself caught in a desperate game of cat-and-mouse with the most cunning opponent he's ever faced, a man who won't be denied the ultimate act of evil and who is all the more deadly for being one of our own.
"Well-written and exciting. . .perfect escape reading!" --Tampa Tribune
"Absorbing. . .extraordinarily hard to put down." --Charlotte Observer
"A gripping saga ripped out of the latest headlines." --News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
"Like Tom Clancy, [Britton] has produced a thriller that makes current terrorist threats all too real. . .Highly recommended." --Library Journal (starred review)
More Phenomenal Praise For The American
"Britton has delivered a level of storytelling excellence most writers spend a lifetime trying to achieve. . .a sizzling page-turner!" --Brad Thor
"A riveting and compelling debut. . .the surprise of the month and maybe the year." ---bookreporter.com
The titular character of 24-year-old Britton's debut thriller is no patriot. Jason March, a blond al-Qaeda operative with a ferocious grudge against the U.S.A., kicks off an orgy of revenge by blowing up Senate Majority Leader Daniel Levy's motorcade, slaughtering the senator, his aide and assorted Secret Service personnel. Assigned to hunt down this killer is ex-CIA agent Ryan Kealey, March's former commanding officer when they were both Special Forces soldiers in the U.S. Army. While on a secret mission years before, March wounded Kealey and murdered everyone else on the team. Now, Langley sends the uniquely qualified Kealey--along with CIA counterterrorism expert Naomi Kharmai--after the unstoppable killing machine. Other than the mildly interesting March, there's little original material. The evil characters are numbingly familiar--al-Zarqawi and bin Laden loom large--and the usual Arab minions and murderers play out their predictable fictional roles. The writing never rises above the pedestrian: "The sands of the endless desert south of Kabul burned beneath the fiery orb above." Readers open to another formulaic Arab terrorist story may enjoy this one, but anyone looking for something new will find it ordinary and tedious. (Mar. 7)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Kensington Publishing Corporation
January 31, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The American by Andrew Britton
They whispered amongst themselves. For an announcement of lesser magnitude, they said, it might have been a more suitable venue.
It was natural for them to complain. Nothing less was expected by those who had organized the event; indeed, the interns who had arranged for the seating and distributed the press passes would have been stunned by anything approaching a compliment. When the frequent interruptions led to a substantial delay in the proceedings, few were surprised. Nevertheless, every effort was made to accommodate them. Additional chairs were brought in for the latecomers, and the proffered urns of coffee and pitchers of chilled water were refilled at a near constant rate. Ornate chandeliers hung high above their heads, providing the requisite amount of light. The cameramen complained anyway, but to no avail. That the room might have been graced by natural light was never a consideration. The six massive windows were wired shut for security purposes, and draped in flowing burgundy curtains that perfectly matched the color of the carpet. Above the sparkling crystal chandeliers, a forgotten pair of star- shaped balloons drifted absently across the gilded ceiling. Although the walls were missing the usual procession of paintings, they were replaced, and perhaps surpassed, by towering marble pillars in the Corinthian order.
For the most part, they agreed that the usual trappings of power were in evidence. What the room was clearly lacking, though, was space. They were wedged tightly against one another, and the shared discomfort was noticed by all. As the hearing progressed, however, the vocal complaints began to subside. Soon they were scribbling furiously and shooting pointed glares at those who continued to talk. Finally, the hushed whispers faded away completely, and they listened with rapt attention to the man who was currently holding court, standing before a backdrop of his seated peers.
"Today I believe we have reached a consensus among some of the most respected and influential people in Washington, including those whose input is vital to the president's decision-making process. I am fully confident that he will react favorably to many of the conclusions the committee has reached this afternoon. I'll take one more question . . . I see you fidgeting over there, Susan. Let's have it."
A small peel of laughter rippled through the assembled crowd of print and television reporters as the CNN correspondent blushed slightly and posed her question to the man behind the podium. "Senator Levy, what do you hope to achieve by delivering this ultimatum to the interim Iranian government, and do you see this administration going down the same path that led to a controversial outcome in Iraq?"
The senator frowned at that last addition, a fact not lost on anyone present. "First of all, our goal here is to make clear to those in power in Tehran that the United States will not sit idly by while preparations are being put in place to cause direct harm to the people of this nation. We have not--and I'd like to be very clear on this point--yet considered the possibility of armed conflict, or even the staging of troops in the region, for that matter."
Levy paused for a moment, ostensibly to give the impression that he was gathering his thoughts. In reality, it was just for effect. "At this point, we have concrete evidence that Iran has restarted the process of refining uranium for use in nuclear weapons, proof that was lacking when the decision was made to remove Saddam Hussein from power. As it stands, the president has refused to recognize the new leadership in Tehran, and I--we--support him fully in this decision. Additionally, we now have tentative commitments from President Chirac of France and Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy. Both leaders have assured us that, if some agreement for partial compensation can be reached, all companies in their respective countries with oil interests in Iran are prepared to terminate their contracts and pull out of the region at the earliest available opportunity. Although these implementations are predicated on talks that are scheduled to take place in late November, this is a huge step toward reinforcing the sanctions that are already in place. Let me assure you that our efforts to form a united front against Iran's nuclear ambitions will not be deterred."
Levy paused again, the momentary lull inviting a wave of clamorous voices. Ignoring them, he focused his gaze on the attractive young correspondent in the third row. "In response to the second part of your question, Susan, I'd like to stress that we're looking for strong U.N. participation in this matter. The proof of weapons production that I referred to is currently in the hands of the Security Council, and once the examination of that evidence is finished early next month, we expect that there will be a strong resolution and condemnation of the actions that have been undertaken by the new regime. No, I'm sorry, that's all," he said as another storm of voices erupted in his direction. "Thank you for being here today."
Senator Daniel Levy stepped down from the dais amidst a flurry of questions that he had no intention of answering. A four and a half hour hearing was bad enough, but the raised voices of twenty-six fellow senators and the incessant blinding light of camera bulbs had left him with a throbbing head and a dull pain in his stomach. Levy was sure that his recently diagnosed ulcer was a direct result of the trouble brewing once more in the Middle East. The recent death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, had resulted in the appointment of an ultraconservative cleric on decidedly unfriendly terms with the United States. Despite his comments of a few moments ago, he was fully aware that the possibility of war in the region was once again looming on the horizon.
He left the Caucus Room and took a sharp right, moving at a brisk stride down two short flights of marble stairs. As he walked, he was joined by his chief advisor, Kevin Aidan.
"So, we're about to start this nonsense all over again," Levy said. He ran a hand through his thick silver hair and spoke under his breath, ever distrustful of his small but highly efficient Secret Service detail. Members of Congress were not usually entitled to this level of protection, but as the Senate Majority Leader and the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, special attention was paid to his security, especially in the wake of recent events. "We spent billions in Iraq so our citizens could be treated to images of their sons and daughters dying on network television. What the hell did we get in return, Kevin?"
Aidan glanced at the senator out of the corner of his eye. He had to look down slightly, as Levy was at least a full head shorter than he was. He idly wondered if the senator harbored any lingering insecurities over his stature. On the other hand, one of the most powerful men in Washington need not concern himself with such trivialities. After all, Aidan reminded himself, That's what I'm here for.
"Sir, the best bet right now is to stick to the party line. Maybe you can try to distance yourself from this later, but you're currently seen as Brenneman's biggest supporter. We're already running polls--if public support starts to swing the other way, we'll see about revising our stance."
Levy raised an eyebrow, somewhat amused at this statement. Although he highly valued his advisor's input, the senator always considered Aidan's youth and inexperience when weighing his opinion. Having just appeared on national television throwing the full weight of his office behind the president, he could hardly reverse himself at any point in the near future without looking like a traitor to his party. Besides, he strongly believed that he was doing the right thing, and while he didn't mind complaining in private, he knew that he would endure as much political fallout as was necessary to prevent Iran from taking its place on the nuclear stage.
These thoughts faded from his mind as they passed through the elaborate marble rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. Levy never ceased to be amazed by the beauty of the architecture and the exquisite craftsmanship that was obviously put into the structure; it continually reminded him of the importance of his job and how fortunate he was to be in his position. He was snapped from his reverie by the sound of a Secret Service agent speaking quietly into his sleeve. The man looked up at Levy.
"Sir, they're ready to go. We'll be moving in the second vehicle." The senator nodded slightly in response and moved through the entrance to the building. The weather outside was customary for Washington, D.C., in mid-October; blustery winds forced a light rain to fall at a sharp angle, threatening to tear away the umbrella that Aidan held over his employer's head. The agents escorted the senator quickly to the second of two white Suburbans.
Levy knew that the first vehicle contained four men armed with automatic weapons, and that the head of the detail would ride in the passenger seat of the second. He vaguely recalled that there would also be a chase car following at a discrete distance. When he glanced down the street to his left, however, he could see no evidence of any such vehicle.
When the detail was first assigned to him, the senator had thought that the highly visible presence of his guardians was both unnecessary and embarrassing. He had said as much to the president himself, but when the reason behind the changes was made clear to him, the senator agreed that the threat appeared to justify the additional security.
That didn't mean that he had to like it, though. Strict limits had been set on his Secret Service detail; the agents were not permitted to step foot inside his residence except in case of an emergency, and his daily commute was not to be affected in any way. The twenty-five minute drive from his office to his home across the river was one of the few quiet, uninterrupted parts of his day, and he would not have the placidity of those moments spoiled by sirens and the blared horns of angry, displaced motorists. Although the lead agent had strenuously objected to these conditions, Senator Levy was one of the most influential politicians in Washington, and they weren't really conditions, anyway; they were demands. In the end, a five-minute telephone call had settled the dispute.
The watchful agents that comprised his detail were not paid to like the senator, which was a good thing, as they didn't. They were responsible for his safety, though, so they were relieved as always that the seven-second transfer from the Russell Building to the Suburban was uneventful; it was a maxim in their business that the principal was always most at risk when entering or leaving a vehicle. In their rush, the experienced agents failed to notice the young, well- dressed man who had followed them outside. He waited for the small convoy to pull away from the curb and for the chase car to follow fifteen seconds later before descending the marble steps of the Russell Building and moving slowly down Constitution Avenue. Along the way, he lifted his own umbrella against the rain and extracted a slim cellular phone from his coat pocket.
The man who answered the call chose to ignore the tinge of arrogance that accompanied the expected message. At the same time, he couldn't help but feel a sliver of contempt for the Congressional staffer whose name he had been given two months earlier, and on whose information he was now completely reliant.
He waited patiently in the driver's seat of a rented black Chevy Tahoe on Independence Avenue, just opposite the James Forrestal Federal Building. The vehicle was legally parked, with sixty minutes remaining on the meter, and the tint in the windows was not of such a degree to cause suspicion among any unusually attentive traffic officers. The man had extensive experience in such matters, and although he recognized the inherent danger of his occupation, he was not one to leave the elements he could control to chance.