The latest thriller by Robert Ludlum follows the exploits of a group of covert agents as they try to uncover the secrets of a mysterious lethal disease and its implications. However, what they do not realize is that the disease is only a small part of a much bigger conspiracy.
The book takes place in the modern day and age, but the events unfold in many locales- from Washington D.C. to Berlin to Moscow, and changes between these locations are done at a pace that will keep any reader on edge. Although written in 3rd person, the book still manages to catch character’s thoughts and feelings, and also show how these affect their decisions.
Lieutenant Colonel Jon Smith, a member of a secret U.S. agency loyal only to the President, is the character who originally finds out about the disease through a meeting with a fugitive Russian scientist. However, when the scientist is murdered after passing the information, Smith is led to believe that his own life is in danger.
It is then that agents Fiona Devin and Oleg Kirov are asked to assist the Lt. Colonel in finding out more about the mysterious disease. Halfway across the world in Afghanistan, CIA agent Randy Smith has discovered information that leads her to believe that an East-German bio-weapons scientist, Wolf Renke, who was presumed to be dead, is still alive and on the loose.
Meanwhile, in the collection of East European countries bordering Russia, scores of top analysts and military leaders have been discovered to be dead or dying. Coupled with rumors that Russia has been building up forces on its borders, the agents are led to believe that the disease is actually a bio-weapon that is being used as part of a much bigger plan of Russia to take over its neighboring countries.
Fighting in a race against time, the agents follow leads across the world in order to stop Renke before the damage done is irreplaceable. Hot on their trail are Moscow’s top security agents and hired gunmen, intent on protecting the operation.
The book is somewhat like a documentary, describing the events unfolding as they happen in different settings. Because of this format, the book seems to have multiple climaxes- each taking place at a different time and location. In spite of this however, the authors manage to tie in the events seamlessly, making for a thrilling read. The level of detail is great enough to give a sense of realism, yet not so much as to make it cumbersome. For example, a vehicle would be described by its real-life name, and not simply a “car.”
Overall, the fast pace, simultaneous events, and realism of this book combine together in a way that is sure to thrill even the most critical of readers.