The Fourth Order

( 8 )


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Successor!

Michael Rose is the odds-on favorite to become the next CEO of a top energy company, and he's working hard to acquire a global information technology company. What he doesn't know is that the company is a cutout - a company used as a pawn by intelligence agencies. He pushes ahead, unaware that he's tightening the noose around his own neck.
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The Fourth Order: A Novel

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Successor!

Michael Rose is the odds-on favorite to become the next CEO of a top energy company, and he's working hard to acquire a global information technology company. What he doesn't know is that the company is a cutout - a company used as a pawn by intelligence agencies. He pushes ahead, unaware that he's tightening the noose around his own neck.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What successful chief financial officer Michael Rose doesn't know might kill him: the global information company he wants to buy is the pawn of various intelligence agencies. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615537945
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/29/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Frey is a managing director at a private equity firm. He previously worked in mergers and acquisitions at JP Morgan and as a vice president of corporate finance at an international bank in Manhattan. Frey is the bestselling author of The Protégé, The Chairman, Shadow Account, Silent Partner, The Day Trader, Trust Fund, The Insider, The Legacy, The Inner Sanctum, The Vulture Fund, and The Takeover. He lives in Florida.
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Read an Excerpt


Present Day

“My God,” Michael Rose murmured. He’d been off in another world, thinking about that day five years past when he and Sheila had been arrested at Dulles airport. Thinking about how deeply it had affected his life, how it had shaken his faith in his government. How it had taken a year to get to the truth behind what had happened. “Amazing.”

David Cortez glanced up, following his boss’s line of sight. Cortez had been about to pick up his beer off the smooth, dark-wood bar but stopped with the chilled glass halfway to his lips. “Jesus,” he said softly with a hint of a Cuban accent.

Rose tried not to stare, but he couldn’t help himself. He’d spent an entire career keeping his nose an inch from the grindstone, doing the right thing, shunning the temptations that were constantly swirling around him as he climbed higher and higher on Trafalgar’s corporate ladder. Now, in an instant, this. “She’s perfect.”

“Yeah, she is,” Cortez agreed.

The young woman sat on a tall stool on the other side of the bar, a glass of champagne on the napkin in front of her. She was keeping two young professionals in sharp suits and bright ties occupied without even trying. Both of them were doing everything but juggling to get her attention, but she was playing them off against each other beautifully. Touching their arms lightly, smiling at them demurely with her full, glossy lips. It was an incredible smile. She was an incredible woman.

“I need to meet her.”

Cortez turned toward Rose. “Easy, Mike,” he warned. They’d worked together since Rose had been promoted to chief financial officer, and they’d gotten very close after a lot of late nights at the office. After a lot of Chinese takeout, a lot of black coffee, a lot of good-nights to the kids over the phone. And a lot of guilt. More than anyone else, Cortez knew how vulnerable Rose was right now. “We’re almost to the finish line, we’ve gotta stay focused.”

But Rose kept staring. Mid to late twenties, he guessed. Old enough to be worldly, young enough to be impressionable. Not from or with money, either. From where he sat, that engagement diamond on her left hand looked like a microchip—less than a third of a carat, probably closer to a quarter—and her low-cut blouse was straight off a rounder rack at Sears. He watched as the man who he assumed was her husband cut aggressively between the two professionals and kissed her. Watched her react with a kiss of familiarity. A kiss devoid of passion. Watched the two suitors fade into the crowd, disappointment etched into their expressions. Then felt disappointment sink into his own chest. Which was surprising, and frightening, for several reasons.

“Yeah,” Rose agreed quietly. He’d heard about this happening, everyone had—the lightning bolt—he’d just never thought it could strike him. Especially now when he was on the lookout for it. “I guess you’re right.”

Then it happened: They caught each other’s gaze, and it momentarily paralyzed him. Her eyes were like lasers cutting through the cigar smoke, low light, and noise. Sparkling beams the color of Caribbean water on a postcard locking onto him and not letting him go, blacking out everything else around them. Rose was the number two executive at Trafalgar Industries, chief financial officer of one of the biggest companies in the world, a corporate superstar at forty-three. But suddenly he felt like an awkward, pimply kid at a high school dance. She was even more attractive than he’d first thought, and not just physically. She had a startling genuineness about her that shone through the potent sexuality. It was a one-two combination he’d never encountered, and he was back on his heels. God, what a risk this would be.

Cortez touched Rose’s arm. “Mike.”

Rose put his elbows on the bar, covered his face with his hands and rubbed his forehead with his fingertips, wondering where Sheila was. When he’d called home an hour ago, the au pair had told him that his wife had left the house at noon but hadn’t been back or called since. He checked his watch: eight o’clock. Maybe it was finally time to hire a private detective.


“Yeah, yeah.” Rose glanced across the bar, but the young woman and her husband were gone, presumably headed into the adjoining Morton’s Restaurant, one of the best steak houses in northern Virginia. He looked over at Cortez. “You committed to this acquisition, David? You committed to getting CIS?”

Cortez nodded.

“A hundred percent?”

“Absolutely, Mike.”

Rose nodded encouragingly, trying to shake the image of the woman from his mind. But that was impossible.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    Only for the most credulous, and those willing to believe in any conspiracy theory

    A secret society headed by a US president is acting as a covert arm of the government, kidnapping and torturing innocent citizens in the name of 'national security.' The hero is a guy who's more interested in sealing the deal for a corporate acquisition than comforting his kids the day after his wife is killed in a car accident. He'd rather call his latest pick-up than stay home with his son who has withdrawn into a world of video gaming, or his daughter who is grieving for her mother while she suspects her father is playing around with another woman. He loves to put his 16 year old daughter on his lap to demonstrate just how much he really loves her -- which is a lot more than his withdrawn son. That's only a few of the creepy things about this guy. This is a book that a good editor should have killed before it ever saw the light of day. What's worse, it's not even written well. It's slow moving, and every time it gets mildly interesting, the action is shifts and any tension or momentum is lost. It starts slow and gets slower, never developing any tension. If you have to read tripe like this, it should at least be a 'fast read.' I've never wanted to write a review of a book before, but if I can save one person from wasting good money on this trash, I'll consider myself a good citizen. Not recommended for anyone.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting conspiracy thriller

    The Fourth Order Stephen Frey Ballantine, May 29 2007, $24.95 ISBN 0345480643 Virginia based Trafalgar Industries CFO Michael Rose strongly believes that his energy firm needs to diversify into other sectors. His target is Computer Information Systems, which he feels if successful will lead him to being the CEO at Trafalgar. He expected some opposition from within especially those who loathe him and the few who actually think it is a mistake to acquire anything outside the core mission. However, Michael is stunned with the hostile violent reaction of the CIS board. Michael does not have the need to know who the prime customer of CIS is since 9/11 as this seemingly successful firm provides top secret assistance to the agents working at a deeply hidden federal program, I-4 (Immunity at the Fourth Order). I-4 known within as the Order detains, renditions, and tortures suspected terrorists and anyone linked even nebulously to terrorist groups American citizens are not immune from this top secret Order who do not bother with obtaining permission from the courts. Rose soon finds his personal life in shambles when the police consider him the prime suspect in his cheating wife¿s murder the Order does not mind collateral damage even if the innocent die. --- This is an exciting conspiracy thriller, but leave your plausibly check outside as several key events especially the Order¿s plan and history seems stretched to the point of almost breaking the plot. Still the story line is fast-paced as Michael who plays hardball in business and in his personal life soon finds who is the major leagues as he is framed in several ways (not just with his wife¿s murder). Stephen Frey provides an entertaining tale that his fans will enjoy. --- Harriet Klausner

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