The thrilling new novel in the bestselling Covert-One series
At an international medical conference in Prague, Dr. Fiona Devin--an American scientist attached to the Department of Defense--is contacted by one of her Russian colleagues. Dr. Valentin Petrenko, a specialist in rare diseases, is concerned about a small cluster of deaths in Moscow but even more concerned by the Russian government's refusal to publicly release any information or data on the outbreak. When he meets with Devin to pass on his case notes and samples, the two are attacked, Petrenko is killed while Devin barely escapes with the notes and medical samples. Covert-One operative Lt. Col. Jon Smith, is dispatched to Prague to get Devin and her information safely back to the U.S.
As Devin begins to analyze the information, a series of highly placed figures in the U.S. government become ill with a mysterious illness that bears a close resemblance to the disease described in Petrenko's notes. The disease is the perfect assassination tool--a bioweapon that, using each target's DNA, is undetectable, unstoppable, and incurable. With few clues and little time, Jon Smith must find the mysterious figure who stands at the center of this nefarious plot.
One might think that time would have taken its toll on the crusty, disgruntled Soviet dinosaurs who want to return Russia to its Communist glory days, but evidently not. Larkin, helming Ludlum's Covert One series, has dreamed up a new bunch of hard-liners, armed with HYDRA, a designer poison that singles out and kills victims based on DNA. With HYDRA having dispatched numerous U.S. and allied intelligence agents, Russian President Viktor Dudarev is poised to launch Operation ZHUKOV, a takeover strike against Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and half of Ukraine. Leading a covert investigation of HYDRA is series regular Lt. Col. Jonathan Smith, U.S. Army molecular biologist and chief operative of supersecret spy agency Covert One. There's nothing particularly new--HYDRA is an unwieldy weapon (it must be tailor-made for each victim), and super-sleuth Jon spends far too much time ferreting out information that readers have known for hundreds of pages. The threat of a Russian takeover of lost territory may not raise the temperature high enough, and various subplots, such as an attempted assassination of the U.S. president, don't amount to much. There are plenty of excellent shoot-outs, but Larkin's last outing, The Lazarus Vendetta, was far more cutting edge. (On sale Aug. 1)
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St. Martin's Griffin
July 06, 2005
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