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The 4 Phase Man

The 4 Phase Man

4.5 10
by Richard Steinberg

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The last man standing...

At the height of the cold war, a few elite secret agents earned the title of "4 Phase Man." From Berlin to the Middle East, only two of them survived....

The first man in...

Once he was a man with a family and a home. Then Gerald Goldman rose through the ranks of the CIA with his ability to survive in any


The last man standing...

At the height of the cold war, a few elite secret agents earned the title of "4 Phase Man." From Berlin to the Middle East, only two of them survived....

The first man in...

Once he was a man with a family and a home. Then Gerald Goldman rose through the ranks of the CIA with his ability to survive in any situation, and to kill. Now he is called Xenos, the outsider, the exile. But Xenos has just come in from the cold, searching for a missing young man and finding an astounding conspiracy to co-opt the United States government.

Between a tough and beautiful U.S. congresswoman who is being forced to betray her country and a deep-cover spy who is aiming at the second-highest office in the land, Xenos finds himself at war. And standing against him is the one man as deadly as Xenos himself: the only other 4 Phase Man in the world....

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Hailed as The Manchurian Candidate for the Information Age, this "tight, suspenseful" conspiracy thriller, full of high-tech espionage and a cat-and-mouse narrative, promises to leave readers double-checking the morning newspaper to distinguish fact from fiction. Kept our booksellers "guessing until the end." "My only complaint is that the book was over too fast."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Counterterrorism expert Steinberg (Nobody's Safe) imagines a time in the near future when the Chinese are counting down the final days of a silent coup d' tat: they aim to seize control of the U.S. by secreting a mole in the Oval Office. Modern-day superspy Gerald Goldman--aka Xenos Filotimo--is a former four-phase man, a vestigial breed of mythic CIA lone wolf trained to carry out all four skills of covert operations: intelligence-gathering, electronic warfare, counterintelligence and assassination. A decade after supposedly dying in an auto accident, Goldman is induced to come out from where he's hiding--on Corsica--to find his Corsican benefactor's brother, who is missing in New York. The trail inadvertently places Goldman in the middle of a blackmail-kidnapping involving the children of Valerie Alvarez, a congresswoman pursuing an inquiry that threatens to expose "Apple Blossom"--the code name of the Chinese conspiracy. It becomes apparent to Goldman that "Apple Blossom" is run by Colin Meadows, the only other remaining four-phase man. Continent-hopping, machine-gun-popping brinksmanship ensues between these two former-compatriots-turned-bitter-rivals, representing good and evil, respectively. There is an overdone subplot about Goldman's long-lost relationship with his father (who disinherited him); this diversion and other corny philosophical passages, apparently intended to build empathy for Goldman, slow the narrative pace. Meanwhile, however, entertaining subplots summoning up the Chinese mastermind and the ambitious, preppy Washington traitors work well. And Steinberg fans will applaud the mano a mano ending. (Apr.) FYI: Steinberg's novel The Gemini Man is being developed for film by producer Steven Haft. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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Random House Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt

There was no place left to go.

But the sun was going down, the weather turning, and the soldiers had lately begun to enforce the curfew. So Aegri Somnia (The Sick Man's Nightmares), the only place in the district that a stranger could go without questions being asked, it would have to be.

The hostess just inside the taverna's door never looked up from her paper. "Ti alismonitos ehos."

"Mu fanatay tsutayros." The man dropped some gold coins on her table. "That a good enough sound for you?"

At the American-accented English words, the woman looked up. Tourists almost never came to this part of the island. "Who you?" she asked cautiously, her cigarette dangling from her upper lip.

"Xenos Filotimo."

The old woman laughed; using the moment to study the flat expression, the callused hands, the knife in the climbing boot. No emotion or feeling came off the big man. Just a blank, somehow foreboding wall.

But with the curfew, rich Americans or English (and they all were rich, she thought) were few and far between. The soldiers and the mercenaries, well, they had their own places. And the local toughs were too busy running from the soldiers-when they weren't robbing unwary European and American college students-to bother with a place where they had to pay.

So this man who spoke Greek like a Greek, but reeked of America and closeted disaster, was unusual.

She made up her mind.

"To look, ten thousand and more," she said as she assessed his nonreaction. "To rent, fifteen thousand and more. To stay night is...more."

"Thay prape na mirasto to domatio mu me aluis skorpeues?" The man tossed thirty thousand drachmas (about $100 U.S.) on her table. "I hate scorpions."

"No scorpions here, sir." The woman quickly counted the bills before sliding them off the desk into a drawer. Next to a loaded and cocked Tokarev. She left the drawer open as she smiled up at the man.

"Filoxenia, Xenos Filotimo. Parea," she said in broad welcoming tones, then stood and unlocked the door behind her. She held up three arthritic fingers to the bartender inside. "Only scorpions are those you bring with."

She relocked the door as soon as the man had gone through. She instantly picked up the phone to call the taverna's owner.

A man like that, he would want to know about.

It took a long moment for the man's eyes to adjust to the dinge of the place. Lanterns and lamps on the walls gave off a mixed red and green tone. A few candles flickered on fewer tables, occupied by maybe six or seven people in the near dark. The sound of a bouzouki strumming softly somewhere floated over the place, neatly mixing with the odors of Greek tobacco, burned lamb, and sex.


The bartender nodded, then poured a glass of the thick, barely chilled goat's milk. He hesitated as he handed the glass across the bar. He'd seen the type before: men who could go from docile to violent in moments. Men past caring, the aeiramene doupesen they were called in the islands.

Walking corpses, devoid of human emotions, compassion, or clemency of any kind.

Xenos slowly swirled a sip of the sweet liquid in his mouth before swallowing. He briefly closed his eyes as his scarred neck pulsed with the effort. A smile played across his lips, then was instantly exiled as he opened his eyes.

"You want now, mister?" the bartender asked carefully.

"Amesos." He took another sip of the milk. "Not a child, parakolutheo? A woman." His voice was hard, stone, inhuman.

"Understand." The bartender swallowed hard, picturing what lay ahead for the woman he selected. What lay in store for him if he chose wrong. He waved to the back of the room and three women came forward.

They wore the long slit skirts and tight button-front sweaters that were the virtual uniforms of the whores of the islands. Maybe in their thirties, maybe older, they all looked at least fifty, and an old fifty at that. Their practiced smiles, pale olive skin stretched tight, their eyes all begging "pick me, I need to feed my family."

He selected the cleanest of the group. The one who preened the least, arched her back the least, seemed to care the least.

"Bring the milk."

Carrying a pitcher of the milk in a bowl filled with ice, she led the way to the back. "Emai Eleni. I make you real happy," she said tonelessly, in a rehearsed fashion, as they climbed the stairs to the second floor. She let them into a small room with a bed, chair, dresser with a radio, a crucifix, and a tiny mirror.

As Xenos walked to the heavily curtained window to look out at the street below, the woman knelt in front of her crucifix, mumbling a nearly silent prayer for strength and forgiveness. Then she stood and looked over the stranger. "What do you want me call you?"

Xenos allowed the curtain to fall back as he turned to her. "That's not important." He dropped his pack on the floor to the side of the bed.

He reached out to her, gently stroking her cheek with the back of his hand, surprised by the real softness there. She turned her head into his hand, professionally but effectively; like a kitten arching into its owner's caress.

He inhaled her hair, her fragrance, felt her warmth. Slowly slid his hand down her neck, finding she had already unbuttoned the old, worn sweater-she probably always did, to keep it from being torn. His fingers found her firm smallish breasts, slid over her warm nipples, felt the regular, completely detached beating of her heart.


"Yeah, boss!"

"See you a moment?"

The boy-barely a man-jogged over to the older man. "What d'you need, Herb?"

The older man gestured at a nearby couch in the half-empty rec room. "Got something to show you."

Jerry looked pained. "God, it's Sunday, man. Can't we put off more training videos until..."

"Now, son." Herb's voice was the perfect mix of professional discipline and paternal disapproval.

Jerry sighed, then sat down.

"I thought you'd be interested in this," Herb said simply as he started the video. "Thought you might learn something."

The picture on the projection television resolved itself into a small bedroom. A woman in her forties lay naked on the bed, holding out her arms to someone off camera.

Then a nude, erect Jerry walked in front of the camera.

"Hey!" someone from the back of the room called out. "Dirty movies!"

"Herb," Jerry said in a pained whisper, "turn it off. Please," he begged.

But Herb just pointed at the screen as a crowd gathered round.

From the Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Richard Steinberg lectures on counterterrorism, international security, and the history of assassinations in America. He is the author of The Gemini Man, currently being developed for film by producer Steven Haft, and Nobody's Safe.

From the Paperback edition.

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4 Phase Man 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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carbs_reader More than 1 year ago
Stop reading reviews and buy this book. Fast, action packed, well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
For readers who used to savor the earlier novels of Alistair MacLean and Robert Ludlum back during the mid-sixties to the late seventies, there¿s a new writer on the block who combines the best of both of the above authors. Richard Steinberg entered the ¿spy/thriller¿ genre with his first book, THE GEMINI MAN, which was a truly excellent debut novel. Now, with his newest novel, THE 4 PHASE MAN, Mr. Steinberg clearly demonstrates that his talent is no fluke, and that he is charting new worlds in a genre that has been stagnant for the last twenty years. The story centers on Gerald ¿Xenos¿ Goldman and Colin ¿Canvas¿ Meadows. Both men used to be members of the DIA¿s ¿4 Phase Man¿ program, which produced field agents of the highest caliber (a combination of James Bond and Rambo). Goldman, disillusioned with the U.S. government and tired of the killing, simply walked away from the job one day while on a mission. Meadows eventually left the job, too, and became a mercenary for hire. Communist China has now hired Meadows to carry out the last stages of a deep cover operation that was set in motion over twenty-five years before. It¿s his job to make sure that China¿s mole successfully infiltrates the highest pinnacle of U.S. government and to kill anyone who gets in the way. When Goldman is asked by a friend to investigate the disappearance of his young nephew, the ex-agent unexpectedly finds himself and his family the target of both Meadows and a Chinese ¿hit¿ team. Goldman quickly realizes that he doesn¿t have the resources to take on the Chinese government, so he enlists the aid of Franco (a top member of the Corsican Mafia) whose nephew it was that he was searching for. Revenge quickly becomes the motto of these two men as they go on the offensive, and it will be a battle to the death with no mercy shown by either side. Before the novel is over, there will be numerous deaths on both sides, and Goldman will have to take a hard, cold look at his instinctive talent for killing and what it has done to him as a human being. He will also begin to understand what it means to be a man, to be part of a family, and to be part of a living heritage, not to mention the responsibility demanded by all three. THE 4 PHASE MAN is a taunt, utterly suspenseful, action-packed read that will leave you begging for more. I truly wish that the brief summary here could do justice to the complexity of the novel¿s plot and subplots. Because of the Chinese element, many readers have compared this book to Richard Condon¿s A MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, and though it is a thinking man¿s novel in many ways, it is also filled with unbelievable action¿the kind of action sequences that will ultimately shock you by the degree of violence its characters are capable of. At no time during the seven-hour read, however, did I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the twists and turns taking place in the book and actually found myself quite surprised a number of times. Neither did I ever doubt the capabilities of the two 4 Phase men. During my lifetime, I have known several men who were members of either the U.S. Army Special Forces or Marine Reconnaissance. I therefore was able to totally believe in Goldman¿s ability to endure severe torture and to kill with his degree of efficiency. Though it¿s been said so often that it is becoming a cliché, this is a novel you won¿t want to put down. I found it to be extremely fast paced and thought provoking, and I couldn¿t help but wonder just how much of this book was based on fact in relation to the 4 Phase men, as well as the Chinese trying to infiltrate our government, and how much of it was the creation of Mr. Steinberg¿s imagination. I highly recommend THE 4 PHASE MEN on all levels. It is a book that you will want to pass on to all of your friends, and though it hasn¿t hit the bestseller list in hardback, I think it may very well do so when it comes out in paperback. If Mr. Steinberg should read this re
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Rick Steinberg's best, by far. Steinberg, author of Gemini Man and Nobody's Safe, sharpens his storytelling ability with every new novel. That Steinberg works in the espionage genre is all to that ailing genre's benefit. Stagnant since 1991, the field has been groping for gravitas, and Steinberg provides it in generous helpings. 4Phase man offers rich characterization--the best, in fact, that Steinberg has yet crafted--and a complex yet plausible storyline. And given the weekly headline revelations of the Chinese Connection to the present presidential administration, his storyline gets more plausible by the day. Steinberg has developed a supple prose style that improves with every book, and it is apparent that he is a lover of literature and the language. The resulting combination of insider knowledge couched in an invisible, sometimes-effortless sometimes-soaring narrative is ultimately satisfying...a rare find in today's low-quality book-choked fiction market. In short, 4Phase is a riveting read woven with powerful, sinewy writing and populated with memorable characters who, we hope, will return in a sequel. 4Phase is a must-read for anyone who wants to peer into the future of the thriller in America. A bright future it is, as long as Steinberg keeps spinning tales!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My name is Richard Steinberg, and I am the author of THE 4 PHASE MAN. I'd like to take a couple of minutes, and share with you how and why I wrote 4 Phase, and tell you a little about myself along the way. A couple of guys with bad haircuts and cheap suits once flashed a plastic card at me and said - in effect - 'you want to play cowboys and indians?' Intrigued, I spent the next eleven years in the intelligence ghetto - where nothing is wrong . . . as long as you don't get caught, and morality is considered to be a weakness. I was a true believer! In the concept, the beauty and the poetry of America. Its freedoms and possibilities. Unfortunately, the people I worked for weren't believers. I came to understand that they were narrow minded, self aggrandizing individuals who were more interested in getting a corner office suite, moving from Langley to the White House, or just making themselves look good around personnel evaluation time. Rather than protecting America - its people and ideals - I was being used to advance personal agendas. I left that netherworld where 'How're you doing?' could be a greeting, a test of some kind or a direct threat; because I got really tired of risking my life for people trying to get promotions instead of preserving our concepts of liberty and democracy; I left because as wonderful as the government of the United States is, there are a great many within it - from all sides of the political spectrum - who see it merely as a game to be played in the abstract, with little or no care about the consequences of winning . . . or losing. THE FOUR PHASE MAN - much like my earlier novels (THE GEMINI MAN & NOBODY'S SAFE) - came from the fire that still burns within me to scream out into the darkness: 'ENOUGH! REMEMBER WHO AND WHAT WE ARE, WHERE WE CAME FROM, AND WHAT WE MUST STAND FOR!!!' And, perhaps, to shine a little light on the never changing structure of the Intelligence Community's middle management. Gray men and women who risk nothing, challenge nothing, stand for nothing. Except themselves. THE FOUR PHASE MAN is my response to those who say that there are no great enemies in the world today, that we no longer need men and women to stand on walls to protect us. To those who would lead us . . . without ever truly having any real beliefs of their own. Remember, the most dangerous thing this country ever faced, is a leader with a smile, and nothing but hunger behind those perfectly white teeth. THE FOUR PHASE MAN - Because sometimes, you HAVE TO BELIEVE!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Both men are former black ops agents who left the government to forge destinies of their own. They are all that are left of the elite 4 phase men and know they are each other¿s equal in every way that counts to survive. Jerry ¿Xenos¿ Goldman lives in self-imposed exile on the Mediterranean Isle of Corsica. He struggles to find a way to live with the guilt caused by the fact that he is responsible for multitudes of deaths in government sanctioned activities. Colin ¿Canvas¿ Meadows has become a mercenary selling himself to the highest bidder, which this time happens to be the Peoples Republic of China.

The Chinese government knows that their nation cannot be the dominant world power through overt acts of aggression. However, after a quarter of a century of patient planning, they believe they can not only neutralize but assimilate their most deadly opponent on the global scale. Nobody¿s Safe from this plot. They have recruited and turned a charismatic young American, highly placed in government circles, who wants their help in getting him elected President of the United States. Canvas must insure that the Chinese plan works flawlessly so that their Manchurian Candidate becomes the free world leader. Xenos must stop his former cohort and in turn destroy the plan.

THE 4 PHASE MAN is a powerful chilling political thriller that modernizes the classic MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE with the impact of modern communications and information technology. The two protagonists participate in the ultimate cat and mouse game. Though they are mirror images of one another in almost every way, their motives are dramatically different. Richard Steinberg has written an appealing but chilling tale that will provide him many accolades and bestow grandmaster status on him.

Harriet Klausner