The Magdalene Cipher [NOOK Book]


From the shadows of history -- out of the ancient prophecies and sacred texts -- comes a conspiracy so vast, so deep, so earth-shattering that the CIA itself is merely a cover for it.

The ritualistic slaughter of a college professor right under the nose of CIA agent Jack Dunphy has damned the disgraced operative to a living hell of paper-pushing obscurity. But Dunphy's not ready to surrender his career until he uncovers the truth behind his demotion -- embarking on a covert ...

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The Magdalene Cipher

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From the shadows of history -- out of the ancient prophecies and sacred texts -- comes a conspiracy so vast, so deep, so earth-shattering that the CIA itself is merely a cover for it.

The ritualistic slaughter of a college professor right under the nose of CIA agent Jack Dunphy has damned the disgraced operative to a living hell of paper-pushing obscurity. But Dunphy's not ready to surrender his career until he uncovers the truth behind his demotion -- embarking on a covert investigation that's leading him into a world he never dreamed existed. And following a twisted trail of lies, Jack's about to become ensnared in a monstrous international web spun by a secret society as old as civilization.

Escape is impossible -- because the players are too powerful, the consequences are too deadly . . . and what's at stake is no less than the destiny of the human race.

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Editorial Reviews

Orlando Sentinel
Canberra Times
“The pacing is brisk...a highly entertaining tale.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062103253
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 78,800
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Jim Hougan won awards for investigative journalism. He is the author of three nonfiction books, is an Alicia Patterson and Rockefeller Foundation fellow, and is the former Washington editor of Harper's magazine. He has reported for NPR's "All Things Considered" and has produced documentary films for "Frontline," "60 Minutes," A&E, and the Discovery Channel. With his wife, Carolyn, he has co-written a series of books under the pseudonym John Case, including the New York Times bestseller The Genesis Code. They live in Afton, Virginia.

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Read an Excerpt

The Magdalene Cipher

By Jim Hougan

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Jim Hougan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060846267

Chapter One

13 December 1998

Dunphy huddled beneath the warm sheets, half-awake, his back to Clementine. He could feel the coldness of the room beyond the bed and sensed the gray London light seeping through the windows like a cloud. The time was anyone's guess. Early morning. Or late. Or afternoon. Saturday, in any case.

He mumbled something about getting up (or maybe not) and listened for her reply. "Mmmm," she murmured, then arched her back and rolled away. "Dream . . ."

He sat up with a low grumble, blinking himself awake. He swung his legs from the bed, pinched the sleep from his eyes, and got to his feet. Clementine whimpered and purred behind him as he shivered his way across the cold floor to the bathroom, where he brushed and spat. Filling his cupped hands with water from the tap, he lowered his face into the cold of it. "Jesus," he gasped. And again.

"Christ!" he whispered, and taking a deep breath, shook his head like a dog.

The man in the mirror was thirty-two years old, broad-shouldered and angular. An inch over six feet, he had green eyes and straight black hair. The eyes glittered back at him from the surface of the mirror as Dunphy, dripping, pulled a towel from the rack, then buried his face in the raised letters of white pile.

Dolder Grand.

And that reminded him: he'd promised Luxembourg that he'd send a fax to Credit Suisse, inquiring about a wire transfer that had gone awry.

There was no point in shaving. It was the weekend. He could jog to work, send the fax, do a bit of paperwork, and take the Underground back to the flat in time for lunch. Returning to the bedroom, then, he pulled a ragged sweatshirt from the dresser and dragged it over his head.

Clementine remained in a fetal position, the sheets and covers bunched inefficiently above her knees. There was a quizzical look on her face as she slept, her lips slightly parted. Dunphy stood for a moment in the still, cold air of the room, wondering at her immaculate complexion, the paper-white skin brushed with pink and framed by a cascade of dark curls.

It occurred to him to make love to her then and there, but the cold had had its effect. Shivering, he pulled on a pair of sweatpants and white socks and jammed his feet into his running shoes. As he tied the laces, his eyes never left the soft parabola of hip beneath the sheets.

Clementine shifted, turning onto her back. Dunphy stood. Maybe later -- unless, as seemed likely, she'd returned to her own place.

A sigh ran through him as he went out the door.

Running was important to him. Though his life in London was a good one, it was suffused with a low-voltage anxiety that never really went away. He lived with a constant static charge of tension and a slight adrenal drain -- the consequence, he knew, of spending his days in the cheap suit of a false identity. So he ran.

He ran five times a week, about ten kilometers a day, following the same route from his apartment in Chelsea past the houseboats at Cheyne Walk, along the Embankment and across the Albert Bridge. This was the unpleasant part of the run. Even on Saturday mornings, the air was heavy with diesel fumes, the streets choked with trucks -- lorries, he reminded himself -- and cabs. There were a dozen streets to cross before he reached the Embankment, and, all in all, it was a dangerous way to stay in shape. Even after a year in England, Dunphy instinctively looked to the left for cars -- which, of course, bore down upon him, horns blaring, from the right.

The middle of the run was lovely, though. It took him into Battersea Park, along the south bank of the Thames, and past the park's improbable pagoda. There was a sort of wildlife refuge among the trees, too pretty to be called a zoo. It held spotted deer and sheep, and a herd of wallabies that looked for all the world like prehistoric rabbits.

In the early morning stillness and gloom, the wallabies reminded him of the statues on Easter Island, immobile against the hillside, gazing down at him with stony indifference. Dunphy smiled as he strode past the beasts, moving easily and with the virtuous feeling that the passing miles gave. This was the midpoint of his run, the place where he usually returned home the way that he had come. Today, however, he continued on through the park to Chelsea Bridge, across the Thames, and on to Millbank, heading toward his office in Gun House.

It was bad tradecraft to run the same route every day but, then again, this was London, not Beirut. Running through the park, Dunphy was entirely at ease, not only with himself, but with the person that he was pretending to be.

A light mist settled on him as he ran, soaking his sweatshirt, but never quite coalescing into rain. He was listening to the sound of his breathing and thinking about Clementine.

He'd seen her for the first time only three months before, standing behind the cash register in a used bookstore on Sicilian Avenue, the one with the funny name. Skoob.

And though Dunphy was not one to hustle clerks in bookstores, he'd known at a glance that if he didn't talk to her (or as Merry Kerry would put it, if he didn't chat her up), he'd never forgive himself. It wasn't just that she was beautiful, or that she had the longest waist he'd ever seen. It wasn't just that, he told himself. There was something else, a sweet vulnerability that made him feel guilty for the cover story that he'd given her, and for the fact that when she whispered his name, it wasn't really his name, but an alias.


Excerpted from The Magdalene Cipher by Jim Hougan Copyright © 2006 by Jim Hougan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 4, 2014

    I really enjoyed this book

    Well written and interesting to read.
    This author has written an interesting and well written novel. I really enjoyed the whole book.
    It might be good for a book club discussion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    A decent fictional escape

    This is a well written and entertaining piece of conspiracy escape fiction. There are a number of familiar historical names thrown in to add some flavor. The plot is so far fetched that the author did a great job of keeping interest alive through the book. Interesting if the families haven't objected to the use of their recent familiy members in such an unlikely plot. Pretty odd and far fetched plot that just collapses on itself, but it is entertaining. A light read.

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  • Posted January 24, 2014

    Okay, not the best book I've read

    Overall, this book held my interest and I did continue to read it. For the most part the plot development was a bit choppy in that some aspects were underdeveloped and others over worked. It was an okay book but definitely not a must read.

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    Posted October 5, 2013

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    Posted May 28, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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