For thirty years, Robert Ludlum's novels have set the standard for the finest in international intrigue and suspense. With an unbroken string of bestsellers in almost every country in the world, Ludlum's work has been read by hundreds of millions of readers, his works acknowledged as classics in the field. Now, after the bestselling The Hades Factor and The Cassandra Compact comes the third thrilling novel in the Covert-One series - Robert Ludlum's The Paris Option. An explosion in the middle of the night reduces part of the Paris's esteemed Pasteur Institute to rubble, killing some of the scientists and grieviously injuring others. Most distressing, however, is that the body of the world's top computer scientist, Emile Chambord, is missing. Even though a terrorist group claims responsibility for the bombing, many in the intelligence community suspect the scientist was kidnapped and the bomb set to cover the kidnappers's tracks. Chambord may have been close to devising a working molecular computer which, in the wrong hands, could be the most deadly weapon in the world.
After a 30-year career that engendered dozens of bestselling novels of international intrigue, Ludlum died in the spring of 2001, just before publication of The Cassandra Compact, the second title in the Covert-One biotech series. This third Covert-One opus co-written with spy novelist Gayle Lynds (Mosaic), who also worked on the first Covert-One epic, The Hades Factor reprises the over-the-top, almost parodic tone of its predecessors with more antics from undercover agent army Lt. Col. Jonathan Smith, M.D. A horrific explosion destroys the Paris lab of computer genius Emile Chambord on the eve of his breakthrough in the development of a revolutionary molecular DNA computer that has the ability to control virtually all the world's computerized operations. Overnight, military satellites, international data banks and worldwide communications threaten to crash. Faced with the enormity of this malevolent power play, Dr. Jon Smith sets out to find the perpetrators. Arriving in Paris just as Chambord's daughter, Thr se, is being abducted, Smith trails the terrorists to Toledo, Spain. Just when this thrilling setup promises a return to vintage Ludlum, Smith's corny pals, CIA spook Randi Russell and British MI6 spy Peter Howell, pop up and they all go bumbling across Europe to avert a nuclear holocaust. Gainsaying the old saw, "You can't take it with you," Ludlum bequeaths yet another ghostly burlesque of his fabled plotting talents. Major ad/promo. (June 18) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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St. Martin's Griffin
June 17, 2002
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Excerpt from The Paris Option by Robert Ludlum
Diego Garcia Island, Indian Ocean
At 0654 hours at the vital U.S. Army, Air Force, and Naval installation on Diego Garcia, the officer commanding the shift at the control tower was gazing out the windows as the morning sun illuminated the warm blue waters of Emerald Bay on the lagoon side of the U-shaped atoll and wishing he were off duty. His eyes blinked slowly, and his mind wandered.
The U.S. Navy Support Facility, the host command for this strategically located, operationally invaluable base, kept all of them busy with its support of sea, air, and surface flight operations. The payback was the island itself, a remote place of sweeping beauty, where the easy rhythms of routine duty lulled ambition.
He was seriously contemplating a long swim the instant he was off duty when, one minute later, at 0655 hours, the control tower lost contact with the base's entire airborne fleet of B-1B, B-52, AWACS, P-3 Orion, and U-2 aircraft, on a variety of missions that included hot-button reconnaissance and antisubmarine and surveillance support.
The tropical lagoon vanished from his mind. He bawled orders, pushed a technician from one of the consoles, and started diagnostics. Everyone's attention was riveted on the dials, readouts, and screens as they battled to regain contact.
Nothing helped. At 0658, in a controlled panic, he alerted the base's commanding officer.
At 0659, the commanding officer informed the Pentagon.
Then, oddly, inexplicably, at 0700, five minutes after they had mysteriously disappeared, all communications with the aircraft returned at the precise same second.