Robert Ludlum's The Lazarus Vendetta: A Covert-One Novel

Robert Ludlum's The Lazarus Vendetta: A Covert-One Novel

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by Robert Ludlum, Patrick Larkin
     
 

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For the past three decades Robert Ludlum's bestselling novels have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers worldwide and have set the standard against which all other thrillers are measured. His Covert-One series has been among his most beloved creations and now comes the latest thrilling novel in the series.

The Lazarus Movement, the dominant force

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Overview

For the past three decades Robert Ludlum's bestselling novels have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers worldwide and have set the standard against which all other thrillers are measured. His Covert-One series has been among his most beloved creations and now comes the latest thrilling novel in the series.

The Lazarus Movement, the dominant force in the eco-conscious, "anti-technology" protest movement, has sent rumblings down the halls of the world's intelligence agencies. Led by a mysterious, never-seen figure known only as Lazarus, this increasingly prominent group is believed by some to be preparing a bold strike.

When an attack on a nano-technology research facility leaves thousands dead--- protestors and scientists alike---from what appears to be a cloud of inadvertently released but gruesomely deadly nanobots, pandemonium reigns. Lt. Col. Jon Smith is activated by Covert-One to find and uncover the truth about Lazarus where all others have failed. As Smith slowly uncovers the deadly underpinnings of the group, he soon learns that the Lazarus Movement is only the very tip of the iceberg in a deadly scheme that threatens billions of lives and will forever change the nature of the world itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Larkin (The Tribune) picks up the reins for the fifth entry in the Ludlum-spawned Covert-One biotech series (The Altman Code; etc.), bringing to the task a solid intelligence, some really scary nanotechnology and a writing style that sometimes lapses into clich but always gets the job done. FBI Deputy Assistant Director Kit Pierson and her CIA counterpart, Hal Burke, are secretly working on an operation to destroy the Lazarus Movement, an environmental group run amok. Once a legitimate organization, the Lazarus Movement has been taken over by an evil scientist whose goal is-you guessed it-world domination. Thrust into the middle of this deadly struggle is series hero Lt. Col. Jon Smith, M.D., a scientist and operative for Covert-One, a super top-secret intelligence unit. When the Lazarus Movement's attack on a biotech lab releases a deadly brew of nanophages, microscopic killer devices that turn those unlucky enough to inhale them into piles of "reddish liquid sludge," some start to think that the movement's diabolical leader envisions a vastly depopulated world that he can redesign into an environmental paradise. The action careens from continent to continent, with the bad guys always a few steps ahead of the heroes. Eventually, everyone ends up on an island in the Azores, where, after a deadly firefight and some last-minute reversals, the inevitable conclusion arrives. Hand-to-hand action, intriguing science and plot speed will keep most techno-thriller readers nailed to their seats. (On sale Oct. 19) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fifth entry in the Ludlum fiction factory's Covert-One series, this time from notes fleshed out by historical novelist Larkin (Passing Judgment, 1996, etc.). Again on hand is Colonel Jon Smith, M.D., specialist in infectious diseases who chases down bad bugs meant to destroy large populations when delivered by a typical Ludlum terrorist group intent on taking over very large sections of the world. Smith works for Covert-One, the president's personal secret intelligence agency, although this time out Jon says he's on detached duty with the Pentagon. The big terrorist baddie now is the Lazarus Movement, an environmentalist group hijacked by a monster intent on-guess what?-wiping out most of the world and rising from the dead to rule the remainder living. How to go about this? It seems that the Teller Institute, which the president will visit in three days to lend his support to medical research underway there, has developed nanophages, supertiny organisms about the size of ten atoms that can zip about a sick body and take out cancer cells, or any other infected cells. Alas, when five cancerous mice are injected with the nanophages, four survive but the fifth shrivels. Now, if someone could isolate the shriveling agent in a nanophage, he'd have the world's most deadly biological weapon. A top Japanese scientist on the project has disappeared. The Lazarus Movement swells gigantically when a Zimbabwe village is wiped out, with the massacre attributed to the US. Now the Lazarus Movement, misled by the novel's chief villain, invades the Teller Institute, where Jon Smith is working: nanophage bombs blow up, and 2,000 demonstrators are killed, along with many scientists and security folk. As ithappens, the disguised villain has built three flying wings to act as drones and drop nanophage bombs that will deplete the world's oversupply of humans. Only Jon Smith can save us. The science stuff is terrific, though the paranoia level is lower than old Bob's.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429906777
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Series:
Covert-One Series , #5
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
56,277
File size:
510 KB

Read an Excerpt

Robert Ludlum's The Lazarus Vendetta

A Covert-One Novel


By Robert Ludlum, Patrick Larkin

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2004 Myn Pyn LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0677-7


CHAPTER 1

Tuesday, October 12

Teller Institute for Advanced Technology, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan ("Jon") Smith, M.D., turned off Old Agua Fria Road and drove up to the Institute's main gate. He narrowed his eyes against the early-morning glare. Off on his left, sunlight was just spilling over the dazzling snowcapped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range. It lit steep slopes carpeted with gold-leafed aspens, towering firs, ponderosa pines, and oaks. Farther down, at the foot of the mountains, the shorter piñon pines, junipers, and clumps of sagebrush surrounding the Institute's thick sand-colored adobe walls were still cloaked in shadow.

Some of the protesters camped out along the road crawled out of their sleeping bags to watch his car go by. A handful waved handmade signs demanding STOP KILLER SCIENCE, NO TO NANOTECH, or LET LAZARUS LEAD. Most stayed put, unwilling to face the chilly October dawn. Santa Fe was at seven thousand feet and the nights were growing cold.

Smith felt a momentary twinge of sympathy for them. Even with the heater in his rental car going, he could feel the cold through his brown leather bomber jacket and sharply creased khakis.

At the gate, a gray-uniformed security guard waved him to a stop. Jon rolled down his window and handed over his U.S. Army ID for inspection. The photo on his identity card showed a fit man in his early forties — a man whose high cheekbones and smooth, dark hair gave him the look of a haughty Spanish cavalier. In person, the twinkle in Smith's dark blue eyes shattered the illusion of arrogance.

"Good morning, Colonel," said the guard, an ex–Army Ranger staff sergeant named Frank Diaz. After scrutinizing the ID, he leaned forward, peering through the car windows to make sure that Smith was alone. His right hand hovered warily near the 9mm Beretta pistol holstered at his side. The flap on the holster was unsnapped — freeing the Beretta for a quick draw if necessary.

Smith raised an eyebrow at that. Security at the Teller Institute was usually more relaxed, certainly not up to the level of the top-secret nuclear labs at nearby Los Alamos. But the president of the United States, Samuel Adams Castilla, was scheduled to visit the Institute in three days. And now a huge anti-technology protest rally had been organized to coincide with his speech. The demonstrators outside the gate this morning were just the first wave of thousands more who were expected to pour in from all over the world. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "Are you catching flak from those people, Frank?"

"Not much so far," Diaz admitted. He shrugged. "But we're keeping a close eye on them anyway. This rally has the folks in Admin spooked. The FBI says there are some real hard-core troublemakers heading this way — the kind who get their kicks tossing Molotov cocktails and breaking windows."

Smith frowned. Mass protests were a lure for anarchists with a taste for violence and property destruction. Genoa, Seattle, Cancun, and half a dozen other cities around the world had already seen their streets turned into battlegrounds between masked rioters and the police.

Chewing that over, he sketched a rough salute to Diaz and drove toward the parking lot. The prospect of being caught in a riot was not especially appealing. Not when he was in New Mexico on what was supposed to be a vacation.

Strike that, Smith told himself with a lopsided grin. Make that a working vacation. As a military medical doctor and expert in molecular biology, he spent most of his time assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. His affiliation with the Teller Institute was only temporary.

The Pentagon's Office of Science and Technology had sent him to Santa Fe to observe and report on the work being done in the Institute's three nanotechnology labs. Researchers around the world were locked in a fierce competition to develop practical and profitable nanotech applications. Some of the best were right here at Teller, including teams from the Institute itself, Harcourt Biosciences, and Nomura PharmaTech. Basically, Smith thought with satisfaction, the Defense Department had given him an all-expenses-paid ringside seat to scope out the century's most promising new technologies.

The work here was right up his alley. The word nanotech carried an incredibly wide range of meanings. At its most basic, it meant the creation of artificial devices on the smallest of imaginable scales. A nanometer was just one-billionth of a meter, about ten times the size of an atom. Make something ten nanometers across and you were still looking at a construct that was only one ten-thousandth of the diameter of a single human hair. Nanotechnology was engineering on the molecular level, engineering that involved quantum physics, chemistry, biology, and supercomputing.

Popular science writers painted glowing word-pictures of robots only a few atoms across prowling through the human body — curing diseases and repairing internal injuries. Others asked their readers to imagine information storage units one-millionth the size of a grain of salt yet able to hold all human knowledge. Or dust motes that were actually hypercapable atmosphere miners, drifting silently through polluted skies while scrubbing them clean.

Smith had seen enough during his weeks at the Teller Institute to know that a few of those seemingly impossible imaginings were already hovering right on the edge of reality. He squeezed his car into a parking space between two behemoth SUVs. Their windshields were covered in frost, evidence that the scientists or technicians who owned them had been in the labs all night. He nodded appreciatively. These were the guys who were working the real miracles, all on a diet of strong black coffee, caffeinated soda, and sugar-laced vending machine snacks.

He got out of the rental car, zipping his jacket up against the brisk morning air. Then he took a deep breath, catching the faint smell of cooking fires and cannabis on the wind wafting across from the protest camp. More minivans, Volvo station wagons, chartered buses, and hybrid gas-electric cars were arriving in a steady stream, turning off Interstate 25 and heading up the access road toward the Institute. He frowned. The promised multitudes were assembling.

Unfortunately, it was the potential dark side of nanotechnology that fed the terrified imaginations of the activists and Lazarus Movement zealots gathering outside the chain-link fence. They were horrified by the idea of machines so small they could freely penetrate human cells and so powerful that they could reshape atomic structures. Radical civil libertarians warned about the dangers of "spy molecules" hovering unseen in every public and private space. Crazed conspiracy theorists filled Internet chat rooms with rumors of secret miniaturized killing machines. Others were afraid that runaway nanomachines would endlessly replicate themselves, dancing across the world like an endless parade of Sorceror's Apprentice enchanted brooms — finally devouring the Earth and everything on it.

Jon Smith shrugged his shoulders. You could not match wild hyperbole with anything but tangible results. Once most people got a good close look at the honest-to-God benefits of nanotechnology, their irrational fears should begin to subside. Or so he hoped. He spun sharply on his heel and strode toward the Institute's main entrance, eager to see what new wonders the men and women inside had cooked up overnight.


* * *

Two hundred meters outside the chain-link fence, Malachi MacNamara sat cross-legged on a colorful Indian blanket laid out in the shade of a juniper tree. His pale blue eyes were open, but he sat calmly, without moving. The Lazarus Movement followers camped close by were convinced that the lean, weather-beaten Canadian was meditating — restoring his mental and physical energies for the crucial struggle ahead. The retired Forest Service biologist from British Columbia had already won their admiration by forcefully demanding "immediate action" to achieve the Movement's goals.

"The Earth is dying," he told them grimly. "She is drowning, crushed beneath a deluge of toxic pesticides and pollution. Science will not save her. Technology will not save her. They are her enemies, the true source of horror and contagion. And we must act against them. Now. Not later. Now! While there is still time ..."

MacNamara hid a small smile, remembering the sight of the glowing faces fired by his rhetoric. He had more talent as an orator or an evangelist than he ever would have imagined.

He observed the activity around him. He had carefully chosen this vantage point. It overlooked the large green canvas tent set up as a command center by the Lazarus Movement. A dozen of its top national and international activists were busy inside that tent — manning computers linked to its worldwide Web sites, registering new arrivals, making banners and signs, and coordinating plans for the upcoming rally. Other groups in the TechStock coalition, the Sierra Club, Earth First!, and the like, had their own headquarters scattered throughout the sprawling camp, but MacNamara knew he was in precisely the right place at precisely the right time.

The Movement was the real force behind this protest. The other environmental and anti-technology organizations were only along for the ride, trying desperately to stem a steady decline in their numbers and influence. More and more of their most committed members were abandoning them to join Lazarus, drawn by the clarity of the Movement's vision and by its courage in confronting the world's most powerful corporations and governments. Even the recent slaughter of its followers in Zimbabwe was acting as a rallying cry for Lazarus. Pictures of the massacre at Kusasa were being offered as proof of just how much the "global corporate rulers" and their puppet governments feared the Movement and its message.

The craggy-faced Canadian sat up just a bit straighter.

Several tough-looking young men were heading toward the drab green tent, making their way purposefully through the milling crowds. Each carried a long duffel bag slung over his shoulder. Each moved with the wary grace of a predator.

One by one, they arrived at the tent and ducked inside.

"Well, well, well," Malachi MacNamara murmured to himself. His pale eyes gleamed. "How very interesting."

CHAPTER 2

The White House, Washington, D.C.

The elegant eighteenth-century clock along one curved wall of the Oval Office softly chimed twelve o'clock noon. Outside, ice-cold rain fell in sheets from a dark gray sky, spattering against the tall windows overlooking the South Lawn. Whatever the calendar said, the first portents of winter were closing in on the nation's capital.

Overhead lights glinted off President Samuel Adams Castilla's titanium-frame reading glasses as he paged through the top-secret Joint Intelligence Threat Assessment he had just been handed. His face darkened. He looked across the big ranch-style pine table that served him as a desk. His voice was dangerously calm. "Let me make sure I understand you gentlemen correctly. Are you seriously proposing that I cancel my speech at the Teller Institute? Just three days before I'm scheduled to deliver it?"

"That is correct, Mr. President. To put it bluntly, the risks involved in your Santa Fe trip are unacceptably high," David Hanson, the newly confirmed Director of Central Intelligence, said coolly. He was echoed a moment later by Robert Zeller, the acting director of the FBI.

Castilla eyed both men briefly, but he kept his attention focused on Hanson. The head of the CIA was the tougher and more formidable of the pair — despite the fact that he looked more like a bantam-weight mild-mannered college professor from the 1950s, complete with the obligatory bow tie, than he did a fire-breathing advocate of clandestine action and special operations.

Although his counterpart, the FBI's Bob Zeller, was a decent man, he was way out of his depth in Washington's sea of swirling political intrigue. Tall and broad-shouldered, Zeller looked good on television, but he should never have been moved up from his post as the senior U.S. attorney in Atlanta. Not even on a temporary basis while the White House staff looked for a permanent replacement. At least the ex-Navy linebacker and longtime federal prosecutor knew his own weaknesses. He mostly kept his mouth shut in meetings and usually wound up backing whoever he thought carried the most clout.

Hanson was a completely different case. If anything, the Agency veteran was too adept at playing power politics. During his long tenure as chief of the CIA's Operations Directorate, he had built a firm base of support among the members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. A great many influential congressmen and senators believed that David Hanson walked on water. That gave him a lot of maneuvering room, even room to buck the president who had just promoted him to run the whole CIA.

Castilla tapped the Threat Assessment with one blunt forefinger. "I see a whole lot of speculation in this document. What I do not see are hard facts." He read one sentence aloud. "'Communications intercepts of a nonspecific but significant nature indicate that radical elements among the demonstrators at Santa Fe may be planning violent action — either against the Teller Institute or against the president himself.'"

He took off his reading glasses and looked up. "Care to put that in plain English, David?"

"We're picking up increased chatter, both over the Internet and in monitored phone conversations. A number of troubling phrases crop up again and again, all in reference to the planned rally. There's constant talk about 'the big event' or 'the action at Teller,' "the CIA chief said. "My people have heard it overseas. So has the NSA. And the FBI is picking up the same undercurrents here at home. Correct, Bob?"

Zeller nodded gravely.

"That's what has your analysts in such a lather?" Castilla shook his head, plainly unimpressed. "People e-mailing each other about a political protest?" He snorted. "Good God, any rally that might draw thirty or forty thousand people all the way out to Santa Fe is a pretty damned big event! New Mexico is my home turf and I doubt half that many ever showed up for any speech I ever made."

"When members of the Sierra Club or the Wilderness Federation talk that way, I don't worry," Hanson told him softly. "But even the simplest words can have very different meanings when they are used by certain dangerous groups and individuals. Deadly meanings."

"You're talking about these so-called 'radical elements'?"

"Yes, sir."

"And just who are these dangerous folks?"

"Most are allied in one way or another with the Lazarus Movement, Mr. President," Hanson said carefully.

Castilla frowned. "This is an old, old song of yours, David."

The other man shrugged. "I'm aware of that, sir. But the truth doesn't become any less true just because it's unpalatable. When viewed as a whole, our recent intelligence on the Lazarus Movement is extremely alarming. The Movement is metastasizing and what was once a relatively peaceful political and environmental alliance is rapidly altering itself into something far more secretive, dangerous, and deadly." He looked across the table at the president. "I know you've seen the relevant surveillance and communications intercept reports. And our analysis of them."

Castilla nodded slowly. The FBI, CIA, and other federal intelligence agencies kept tabs on a host of groups and individuals. With the rise of global terrorism and the spread of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons technology, no one in Washington wanted to take any more chances on being blindsided by a previously unrecognized enemy.

"Then let me speak bluntly, sir," Hanson went on. "Our judgment is that the Lazarus Movement has now decided to attain its objectives through violence and terrorism. Its rhetoric is increasingly vicious, paranoid, and full of hatred aimed at those whom it considers enemies." The CIA chief slid another piece of paper across the pine table. "This is just one example."

Castilla put his glasses back on and read it in silence. His mouth curved down in disgust. The sheet was a glossy printout of a page from a Movement Web site, complete with grotesque thumbnail photos of mangled and mutilated corpses. The banner headline across the top screamed: INNOCENTS BUTCHERED AT KUSASA. The text between the pictures blamed the massacre of an entire village in Zimbabwe on either corporate-funded "death squads" or "mercenaries armed by the U.S. government." It claimed the killings were part of a secret plan to destroy the Lazarus Movement's efforts to revitalize organic African farming — lest they threaten the American monopoly on genetically modified crops and pesticides. The page ended by calling for the destruction of those who would "destroy the Earth and all who love her."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Robert Ludlum's The Lazarus Vendetta by Robert Ludlum, Patrick Larkin. Copyright © 2004 Myn Pyn LLC. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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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Meet the Author

Robert Ludlum was the author of 25 thriller novels, including The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum—the books on which the international hit movies were based—and The Sigma Protocol. He was also the creator of the Covert-One series. Born in New York City, Ludlum received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and before becoming an author, he was a United States Marine, a theater actor and producer.

Patrick Larkin is the author of The Tribune, as well as the co-author of five best-selling thrillers with Larry Bond, including Red Phoenix and The Enemy Within. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he lives in northern California with his wife and two children.


Robert Ludlum (1927-2001) was the author of 25 thriller novels, including The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum--the books on which the international hit movies were based--and The Sigma Protocol. He was also the creator of the Covert-One series. Born in New York City, Ludlum received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and before becoming an author, he was a United States Marine, a theater actor and producer.
Patrick Larkin is the author of Robert Ludlum’s The Lazarus Vendetta and The Tribune, as well as the co-author of five bestselling thrillers with Larry Bond. He lives in northern California with his family.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
May 25, 1927
Date of Death:
March 12, 2001
Place of Death:
Naples, Florida
Education:
B.A., Wesleyan University, 1951
Website:
http://www.ludlumbooks.com/

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