When he is assigned to Paris, CIA officer Tommy Carmellini joins his old boss Jake Grafton on a bold mission: To locate a French intelligence agent who has secret investments in the Bank of Palestine. Together they work to unravel a tangle of espionage, deception, and murder...and develop an elaborate strategy to infiltrate the highest levels of Al Queda.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the G-8 industrialized nations will soon meet in Paris--an event that would make a tempting terrorist target. Throw into the mix the beautiful, clever daughter of the French ambassador to Washington and an Israeli spy or two, and the stage is set for a tour de force of deception and drama.
Soon Carmellini and Grafton unearth a horrifying plan to shake the West as never before. But can they stop the conspiracy without compromising the intelligence source that could bring down Al Queda once and for all?
In bestseller Coonts's assured new international thriller, Tommy Carmellini, the sardonic, laid-back CIA agent who became a star in 2004's Liars & Thieves, gets a shot at the big time in his second featured outing when he's asked to drop his routine work and help find out why the director of French intelligence is making large, secret investments in the Bank of Palestine. Tommy wonders if he's the right man for the job; his own espionage experience in France is limited to being "assistant passport officer at the embassy." When his controller tells him that the new head of European Ops asked for Tommy by name, it turns out to be the unretired Jake Grafton (the longtime star of his own Coonts series), described by Carmellini as "the toughest son of a bitch wearing shoe leather." With support from Grafton; an enigmatic, seductive CIA agent, Sarah Houston; and a nifty little electronic weapon that Coonts says is really being tested, Tommy zeroes in on the high-level traitor who could do him--and the world--a lot of damage. (July)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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St. Martin's Press
March 05, 2007
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Excerpt from The Traitor by Stephen Coonts
Maurice Marton died of a heart attack thirty-seven thousand feet above the Mediterranean. He did it quietly, the same way he had lived his life. He felt a sudden, severe chest pain, couldn't breathe, and reached for the call light above his seat. As he looked up, gasping, groping for the button, his heart quit beating altogether. Maurice Marton slumped in his first-class airline seat. By chance, he was in a window seat and his head sagged toward the window. Also by chance, the aisle seat beside him was empty.
It was several minutes before the flight attendant noticed Marton. The man was slumped down, facing the window, and although his eyes were open, the attendant couldn't see them and thought he was asleep. As is customary in first class, he let him sleep.
A half hour later as the aircraft began its descent into Amman, the seat-belt light came on. It was then that the flight attendant tried to wake his sleeping passenger. As soon as he saw the open, unfocused, frozen eyes, he knew the man was dead.
An old hand at the business, the attendant felt for Marton's pulse. Finding none, he covered the man with a blanket and turned his head back toward the window.
The plane made a normal landing in Amman, and after the other passengers were off the plane, a doctor and two policemen came aboard. As the senior cabin attendant watched, they loaded the corpse onto a stretcher and carried it off.
With the airplane empty of people, the senior attendant removed Marton's attachý case from the storage compartment over his head and opened it. The case was crammed full, mostly letters and spreadsheets and a few printed statements. Roughly half were in French and half in Arabic. The attendant sat down and began rapidly scanning the documents.
Three weeks after the death of Maurice Marton, a man from the American embassy entered a nondescript building in Tel Aviv and was ushered to a basement room. The walls, floor and ceiling were poured concrete. A naked bulb on a wire hung from the ceiling over the only desk, a small, scarred steel one that at some time in the historic past had been painted a robin's egg blue. Behind the desk was a tanned man with close-cropped brown hair wearing a white short-sleeved shirt. He had a comfortable tummy, and a firm grip when he shook hands.
"Good to see you, Harris. How was Washington?"
"A steam bath," the American said. "With a whole continent to play with, they managed to put the capital in a place that's cold, damp and miserable in the winter, and hot, humid and miserable in the summer."
"I've never been there. Should I make the trip someday?"
"Only if the airfare is free."
The men were seated now. The host said, "I have a story that I thought would interest your colleagues."
"Anything that interests the Mossad will interest my crowd," Harris replied candidly.
"On the twenty-seventh of last month, a French intelligence agent named Maurice Marton died on an Air France flight between Paris and Amman. Had a heart attack, apparently, and quietly expired. In his attachý case were some interesting documents that I would like to share with you." The host picked up a small stack of paper and handed it to his guest.
The American examined the sheets carefully. They were obviously copies. After a few minutes, he remarked, "I understand most of the French, I think--it's been a few years since college--but my Arabic is a little rusty. It appears someone named Henri Rodet is buying stock in the Bank of Palestine, two million euros' worth."
"I think so, yes," murmured the Israeli. "Do you recognize the name?"
"Henri Rodet is the head of the DGSE." The Direction Gýnýrale de la Sýcuritý Exteriýure was the French intelligence agency.