Robert Ludlum's The Ares Decision (Covert-One Series #8)

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Overview

With U.S. intelligence agencies wracked by internal power struggles and paralyzed by bureaucracy, the President was forced to establish his own clandestine group--Covert-One. It is only activated as a last resort, when the threat is on a global scale and time is running out.

In northern Uganda, an American special forces team is decimated by a group of normally peaceful farmers. Video of the attack shows even women and children possessing almost supernatural speed and strength, ...

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Overview

With U.S. intelligence agencies wracked by internal power struggles and paralyzed by bureaucracy, the President was forced to establish his own clandestine group--Covert-One. It is only activated as a last resort, when the threat is on a global scale and time is running out.

In northern Uganda, an American special forces team is decimated by a group of normally peaceful farmers. Video of the attack shows even women and children possessing almost supernatural speed and strength, consumed with a rage that makes them immune to pain, fear, and all but the most devastating injuries.

Covert-One's top operative, army microbiologist Colonel Jon Smith, is sent to investigate the attack and finds evidence of a parasitic infection that for centuries has been causing violent insanity and then going dormant. This time, though, it's different. The parasite had been purposely kept alive and crudely transmitted in acts of terrorism. Now the director of Iranian Intelligence is in Uganda trying to obtain this biological weapon to unleash it on the West.

Smith and his team are ambushed and cut off from all outside support just as they begin to suspect that forces much more powerful than the Iranians are in play--forces that can be traced to Washington itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times
"Don't ever begin a Ludlum novel if you have to go to work the next day."
Booklist
"The fun...[is] finding out how [our heroes] will manage to overcome a new batch of seemingly insurmountable odds. Fast paced, exciting, and boasting prose that's easier on the eyes than much of Ludlum's own appoint."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Welcome to Robert Ludlum's world...fast pacing, tight plotting, international intrigue."
PEOPLE on The Altman Code
"Packed with all the classic Ludlum elements...the intricately engineered plot thunders forward at breakneck pace. Bottom Line: Perfectly executed."
Publishers Weekly
The action never flags in the eighth entry in the Covert-One series (The Arctic Event, etc.), based on a concept created by the late Robert Ludlum. When a special ops team dispatched to Uganda to take out a vicious terrorist, Caleb Bahame, is quickly wiped out by unarmed civilians who appear to possess superhuman strength and speed, Fred Klein, the head of Covert-One, the supersecret intelligence unit created by the U.S. president, worries that a lethal bioweapon may have been used and that Bahame might share it with Iran. Dr. Jon Smith, the leader of the Covert-One team sent to investigate, discovers that Bahame is using a parasite to kill people. Smith and Namibian biologist Sarie van Keure race to prevent the parasite from being released on American soil. Mills (Lords of Corruption) nicely integrates relevant military and scientific details into the story line, while his skill at characterization will leave many hoping he’ll become a permanent posthumous collaborator with Ludlum. (Oct.)
PEOPLE
"Packed with all the classic Ludlum elements...the intricately engineered plot thunders forward at breakneck pace. Bottom Line: Perfectly executed."
Library Journal - Audio
Ludlum's "Covert One" series continues with a solid effort. With Iran on the brink of civil war, Iranian intelligence, as its last-ditch effort to stay in power, turns to a Ugandan terrorist who has harnessed a terrifying, quick-spreading parasitic infection that causes violent uncontrollable rage along with superstrength and -speed to those infected. The U.S. president's secret intelligence agency, Covert One, sends its top operative—army microbiologist Col. Jon Smith—to contain the germ before the terrorists spread it. VERDICT The taut writing is above average, and Jeffrey Woodman's narration leaves no doubt why AudioFile Magazine called him one of the 50 Greatest Voices of the Century. Highly recommended. [The Grand Central hc, published in October, was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Scott R. DiMarco, Mansfield Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib.
Kirkus Reviews
Diabolical Caleb Bahame, "brutal terrorist and cult leader," has unleashed hell in Uganda, and there are rumors Bahame is seeking an unholy alliance.

The CIA knows something spooky is happening, perhaps involving Iran's rogue government. Into Uganda goes a special-ops team. Out comes one man alive. President Sam Adams Castilla understands the intelligence bureaucracy usually generates assessments suiting its own agenda. Castilla calls on Covert-One, a blacker-than-black operations group overseen by his longtime friend and trusted confidante, Fred Klein. Klein has a man he trusts too, Col. Jon Smith, an army microbiologist and veteran of several hazardous Covert-One missions. The video of the Uganda fight that wiped out the special ops team shows unarmed men, women and children running into gunfire and killing the armed men barehanded. There's speculation Bahame is fueling his followers with narcotics and witchcraft, but Smith's research soon says otherwise. The action moves from Washington to California, where Smith drafts ex-SAS commando Peter Howell for a clandestine foray to Uganda. Enroute, the pair stop in South Africa to meet Dr. Sarie van Keuren, world-renowned parasite expert. She decides to tag along. Meanwhile the Ayatollah Khamenei lurks in Tehran, half-believing that his trusted underling Mehrak Omidi has discovered a practicable biological weapon in the hands of the infidel Baheme. After firefights, diversions and an unlucky cave exploration, Smith and company end up captured and imprisoned at Baheme's camp. There Omidi is present for a demonstration of the bio-weapon. Characters are formulaic and Covert-One familiar. Action moves through brief, dialogue-heavy chapters and unravels a serviceable plot, right down to Sarie's capture and transport to an underground Iranian bio-weapons facility. There Omidi attempts to coerce her into weaponizing a thing best left untouched until Smith, Howell and an Iranian rebel force battle their way to the lab and beyond.

Nothing fancy here, but plenty of comfort food for those with an appetite for the thriller genre.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619693654
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Series: Covert-One Series , #8
  • Format: CD
  • Sales rank: 813,513
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT LUDLUM was the author of twenty-one novels, each one a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 210 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into thirty-two languages. Ludlum passed away in March 2001.

KYLE MILLS is a New York Times bestselling author of over 10 novels including Rising Phoenix and Lords of Corruption. He lives with his wife in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where they spend their off-hours skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

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