Even after death, Robert Ludlum remains the master of the international spy caper, and whether this posthumously published new thriller was cobbled together by a real ghost or already completed before Ludlum died doesn't matter. All the trademarked Ludlum gifts of plotting, pacing, and suspense are on full display in this engrossing mystery about a former covert operative turned private security executive who's stranded, abandoned, and marked for murder by his old colleagues when he manages to survive an unsurvivable mission. Rescuing renowned philanthropist and statesman-without-portfolio Peter Novak from the clutches of the terrorist who murdered his wife and unborn child, Paul Janson watches, unbelieving, as the plane carrying Novak back to freedom explodes before his eyes. Soon after the first post-mission attempt on his life, Janson begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but Ludlum keeps the reader from seeing it whole until the last thrilling chapter. A page-turner that doesn't let up, this one will leave Ludlum's fans hoping there are more unpublished manuscripts where this one came from, a not unlikely possibility. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Ludlum died in March 2001, but here he is again, back with yet another posthumous thriller. Such books rarely live up to the author's standards, but this one is different: it's vintage Ludlum-big, brawny and loaded with surprises. The hero is Paul Janson, a private security consultant who retired a few years ago after a notorious career as the U.S. government's go-to guy for nasty jobs no one else was willing to take. Against his better judgment, Janson accepts an assignment to rescue Peter Novak, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning philanthropist and international troubleshooter held captive by Islamic extremists on an island in the Indian Ocean. Janson pulls off the stunning rescue, but as they make their escape, Novak dies in a fiery explosion-or does he? Janson has his doubts; within hours, he finds himself targeted by separate groups of assassins for reasons that baffle him. As he zigzags his way across Europe, leaving piles of bodies at each stop, he begins to wonder who Novak really is. The answer he eventually discovers provides readers with one of Ludlum's most outrageous plot twists in years. Extremely engaging and agonizingly suspenseful, Ludlum's plot bolts from scene to scene and locale to locale-Hungary, Amsterdam, London, New York City-never settling for one bombshell when it can drop four or five. If this wild, unpredictable and colorfully cast novel is Ludlum's swan song (he supposedly left behind notes for several thrillers), it's a memorable one indeed.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.