Alex Hawke is back. In this explosive,jaw-tightening follow-up to Ted Bell's "rich, spellbinding, and absorbing" (Clive Cussler) debut national bestseller, Hawke, fearless intelligence operative Lord Alexander Hawke matches wits with a cunning and bloodthirsty psychopath in a desperate race to avert an American Armageddon.
In an elegant palazzo on the Grand Canal, an American ambassador's tryst turns deadly. In the seamy underbelly of London, a pub-crawling killer is on the loose. And in a storybook chapel nestled in the Cotswolds, a marriage made in heaven turns to hell on earth. Isolated incidents? Or links in a chain of events hurtling towards catastrophe? So begins Assassin, the tour de force thriller that heralds the return of every terrorist's worst nightmare, Alex Hawke.
A shadowy figure known as the Dog is believed to be the ruthless terrorist who is systematically and savagely assassinating American diplomats and their families around the globe. As the deadly toll mounts inexorably, Hawke, along with former NYPD cop and Navy SEAL Stokely Jones, is called upon by the U.S. government to launch a search for the assassin behind the murders.
Hawke, who "makes James Bond look like a "slovenly, dull-witted clockpuncher" (Kirkus Reviews), is soon following a trail that leads back to London in the go-go nineties, when Arab oil money fueled lavish, and sometimes fiendish, lifestyles. Other murky clues point to the Florida Keys, where a vicious killer hides behind the gates of a fabled museum. And to a remote Indonesian island where a madman tinkers with strains of a deadly virus and slyly bides his time.
Hawke must call upon resources deep within himself. He must enter a race against time to stop a cataclysmic attack on America's most populous cities and avengethe inexplicable and horrific crime that has left him devastated.
Brimming with relentless action and stylish detail, and featuring a hero that readers will stand up and cheer for, Assassin is a gripping adventure. And definitely not recommended for the faint of heart.
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July 29, 2004
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Excerpt from Assassin by Ted Bell
THE GODS WOULD NEVER HAVE THE NERVE TO RAIN ON HIS wedding. Or, so Commander Alexander Hawke told himself. The BBC weather forecast for the Cotswolds region of England had called for light rain Saturday evening through Sunday. But Hawke, standing on the church steps of St. John's, basking in the May sunshine, had known better.
Hawke's best man, Ambrose Congreve, had also decided today, Sunday, would be a perfect day. Simple deduction, really, the detective had concluded. Half the people would say that it was too hot, while the other half would say that it was too cold. Ergo, perfect. Still, he had brought along a large umbrella.
"Not a cloud in the sky, Constable," Hawke pointed out, his cool, penetrating blue eyes fixed on Congreve. "I told you we wouldn't need that bloody umbrella."
Hawke was standing stiffly in his Royal Navy ceremonial uniform, tall and slender as a lance. Marshal Ney's ornamental sword, a gift from his late grandfather, now polished to gleaming perfection, hung from his hip. His unruly hair, pitch-black and curly, was slicked back from his high forehead, every strand in place.
If the groom looked too good to be true, Ambrose Congreve would assure you that this, indeed, was the case.
Hawke's mood had been uncharacteristically prickly all morning long. There was a definite tightness in his voice and, were Ambrose to be perfectly honest, he'd been rather snappish. Curt. Impatient.
Where, Congreve wondered, was the easygoing, carefree bachelor, the blas youth of yore? All morning long the best man had been giving this storybook groom a decidedly wide berth.
Heaving one of his more ill-disguised sighs, Ambrose peered hopefully up into the now cloudless sky. It wasn't as though Ambrose actually wished for rain on this radiant wedding day. It was just that he so despised, detested really, being wrong. "Ah. You never do know, do you?" he said to his young friend.
"Yes, you do," Hawke said, "Sometimes you actually do know, Constable. You've got the ring, I daresay?"
"Unless it has mysteriously teleported itself from my waistcoat pocket to a parallel universe in the five minutes since your last enquiry, yes, I imagine it's still there."