Robert Ludlum's The Paris Option (Covert-One Series #3)

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Overview

For 30 years, Robert Ludlum's novels have set the standard for the finest in international intrigue and suspense. With an unbroken string of bestsellers in almost every country in the world, Robert Ludlum's books have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers, and are widely acknowledged as classics in the field. Now, after the bestselling Covert-One novels The Hades Factor and The Cassandra Compact comes the third thrilling novel in the series - The Paris Option.

A fiery ...

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Robert Ludlum's The Paris Option (Covert-One Series #3)

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Overview

For 30 years, Robert Ludlum's novels have set the standard for the finest in international intrigue and suspense. With an unbroken string of bestsellers in almost every country in the world, Robert Ludlum's books have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers, and are widely acknowledged as classics in the field. Now, after the bestselling Covert-One novels The Hades Factor and The Cassandra Compact comes the third thrilling novel in the series - The Paris Option.

A fiery explosion in the dark of night shatters one of the laboratory buildings in Paris's esteemed Pasteur Institute. Among the dead is Emile Chambord, one of the leaders in the global race to create a molecular - or DNA - computer. Unfortunately, Professor Chambord kept the details of his work secret, and his notes were apparently destroyed in either the bomb blast or the raging fire that followed.

The scientific community does not expect a workable DNA computer to be developed for years. But suddenly U.S. fighter jets disappear from radar screens for a full five minutes, and there's no explanation. Utilities across the Western states cease functioning, and all telecommunications abruptly stop, with devastating consequences. This is not the work of a clever hacker, although Washington, worried about a panic, assures the public it is. Only the enormous power and speed of a DNA computer could have caused such havoc.

Under the cover of visiting his friend Marty Zellerbach, who was severely injured when the Pasteur lab was destroyed, Covert-One agent Jon Smith flies to Paris to search for the connection between the Pasteur explosion and the forces now wielding the computer. Following a trail that leads him across two continents, Smith uncovers a web of deception that threatens to wreck havoc and forever reshape the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Paul Michael] ratchets up the tension. [He] follows each character from continent to continent, operation by operation, ably switching accents and phrasing to suit the myriad characters Ludlum is famous for. The Paris Option pits European and American values against those of Islamist extremists in a startling spy novel.” —AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007101719
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 8/19/2002
  • Series: Covert-One Series , #3

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.

 

Gayle Lynds is the bestselling, award-winning author of several international espionage thrillers, including Masquerade, The Coil, and The Last Spymaster. A member of the Association for Intelligence Officers, she is cofounder (with David Morrell) of ITW (International Thriller Writers). She lives in Santa Barbara.

Biography

Robert Ludlum was the author of 21 novels, each a New York Times bestseller. There are more than 210 million of his books in print, and they have been translated into 32 languages. In addition to the Jason Bourne series—The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum—he was the author of The Scarlatti Inheritance, The Chancellor Manuscript, and The Apocalypse Watch, among many others. Mr. Ludlum passed away in March, 2001.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 25, 1927
    1. Date of Death:
      March 12, 2001
    2. Place of Death:
      Naples, Florida

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Bye, Roger. I'm off to the airport," I said to my husband one Tuesday morning in March. (I've decided to begin the story here because it's the morning I became aware that I wanted to kill Roger. Well, not kill him, exactly. Just slap him around a little.) "Roger?"

    There was no response from him. Not even the slightest flicker. It was as if he were alone in our three-bedroom house on the corner of fifteenth and Idaho in Santa Monica, as if he didn't have a wife of six years who was about to leave on a business trip, as if he had morphed from a husband who takes his marital responsibilities seriously into a husband who takes his marital responsibilities for granted. Such a shame, wasn't it? Especially after our dreamy start on that freeway?

    "Roger," I tried again. "I said goodbye."

    He was sitting at the kitchen counter, reading the L.A. Times, drinking coffee, and eating an English muffin. There were crumbs everywhere, including those pesky little seeds that regularly slough off the underside of English muffins. I was itching to grab the nearest Dustbuster, but there wasn't time. I was running late. The Town Car from Ascot Limo was picking me up any minute to take me to LAX.

    "Oh, are you going now, hon?" he said sweetly, innocently, turning his head in my direction at last, answering with a mouthful of food. His question sounded more like Ohyougonaha? I often thought of hiring a translator for those precious moments when Roger spoke while he ate.

    "Yes. I'm taking a nine o'clock flight, remember?" I had only told him that ten thousand times.

    "When will you be back?"

    "Thursday night," I replied impatiently. I had told him that too. I'd told him where I was going and what time I was going and when I would be home, but he hadn't been paying attention. Not for a long time. When we were first married, he hung on my every word, not to mention hung up his clothes, and now he did neither. He was always too busy, too tired, too something, and, as a result, I was always carping. "I really wish you'd listen to me when I talk to you, Roger."

    He took a sip of coffee. Slurped it, actually. A renegade drop dribbled down the side of his mug onto the counter. I hated how tempted I was to wipe it up.

    "And I really wish you wouldn't go off on a trip on such a harsh note," he countered. "Besides, I do listen to you when you talk to me. I'm allowed to forget the details, aren't I?"

    He honestly didn't get it, didn't get the disconnect that had occurred between us. Or if he did, he didn't want to face it—or, God forbid, have a conversation about it.

    "You never used to forget the details," I said wistfully.

    "Sorry, hon. You know how tied up with work I've been."

    Tied up with work. Ha! Roger had become a card-carrying workaholic. When we were first married, he couldn't wait to get away from the office so he could be with me. Now, the reverse was true, or at least it seemed that way.

    "Is it really work, Roger?" I said. "Is that what's distracting you? Or is it that the thrill is gone? That our marriage is in trouble?"

    "Elizabeth. Don't start that again."

    "Why not? You've changed. I can't help that I notice it."

    "I haven't changed. It's just ... just ... I don't know ... reality, I guess. People get bogged down by the routine of marriage, the everyday-ness of marriage, the blah-blah-blah of going to the office and dealing with the house and figuring out whether it's our turn to have the neighbors over. It can't be the way it was when we were first married. It never is."

    "That's not true. There are plenty of couples who've been married a long time but act like they're still on their honeymoon."

    "Name one."

    I thought for a minute, taking a quick inventory of all our friends, many of whom were no longer our friends because they'd gotten divorced, remarried, and moved on to other friends. "I can't. Not right this second. But that doesn't mean there aren't any."

    "Elizabeth." He said this with a patronizing tone. "I appreciate that you have high standards and demand the best of everything and everybody, but marriage isn't a honeymoon. It isn't supposed to be."

    "I don't believe that. I refuse to believe that. Maybe what's really going on between us is that you're having an affair."

    First, he did the jaw drop. Next, he did the eyebrow arch. Then, he did that thing people do with their neck where they sort of extend it forward and hold it there, to register their shock and disbelief—and buy time.

    "Nice stall," I said.

    "I'm not stalling," he said. "I'm just stunned by your question. I'm processing it."

    "What's to process? A yes or no will do."

    "Elizabeth. What's gotten into you?" He shook his head, so as to indicate that he thought I was emotionally unstable. "Of course I'm not."

    "Not what?"

    "Having an affair, for God's sake!"

    "Would you tell me if you were?"

    "Okay, stop this." He put his hand up, like a school crossing guard. His palm was smudged with newsprint. His fingertips were glistening with margarine. The cuff of his shirt revealed a small coffee stain. I had an impulse to haul him over to the sink and hose him down. I'm sorry I didn't remember what time your flight is leaving this morning. I'm sorry I didn't remember when you're scheduled to come home. I'm sorry if you feel I haven't been as attentive as I should be. But I am not having an affair. I am in love with my wife. And I would appreciate it if she would let me finish my breakfast."

    "Sure. Okay. Fine."

    The truth is, I didn't really suspect him of having an affair, despite my accusation. When men have affairs, they generally dress spiffier, log in more time at the gym, wear too much cologne. Roger, on the other hand, had slacked off in the area of his personal grooming. Remember the lean and rangy guy who'd rescued me on the 405? Well, sorry to report that he had sprouted baby jowls, not to mention an actual gut. Plus, the hair on his head was beginning to thin while the hair in his nose was beginning to grow, and don't even get me started on his hopelessly dated wardrobe. No, I didn't think he was cheating on me. I was just trying to be provocative in an effort to shake him up, get him juiced, snap him out of his coma, rekindle his old spark. I would have been devastated if he'd admitted he'd been sleeping around. He'd been acting like a clod lately, but he was my clod.

    "I love you too, you know," I said out loud, inching my way over to him. "That's why it hurts me so much that we've drifted apart."

    "We haven't drifted apart. I'm right here, hon." He smiled, showing off the dimpled grin that had made me weak-kneed at our first meeting.

    "If we haven't drifted apart, then why does it feel as if we're just going through the motions?" I said. "Can you deny that we don't even communicate?" Sure, I knew relationships went through stages, passages, whatever you want to call them; that the adrenaline rush didn't last forever. But I wasn't ready to forfeit excitement for contentment. Not yet, anyway.

    "We're not drifting apart and we're not going through the motions and we communicate as well as can be expected," said Roger.

    "As well as can be expected? What's that supposed to mean?" I said, my stomach twisting as it always did when we fought.

    He swatted the newspaper at some invisible bug. "Don't put me on the defensive, Elizabeth. I hate when you do that."

    "Then tell me what you meant by that last remark."

    "Nothing. Let's just forget I said it."

    I was about to argue that I couldn't forget it and why should I forget it and once people say something it's too late to take it back, but I heard the doorbell.

    "There's the car," I said. "I've got to go. I'll call you when I get to Seattle."

    "Right."

    "Right? Is that the best you can do? What if my plane crashes and 'right' turns out to be your final word to me? Is that your idea of communication, Roger? Is it? Because I remember a time when you said beautiful words to me—words full of poetry and depth and intimacy. What happened to them, huh? Tell me that, if you can." I had become unhinged and it was unattractive of me, but the guy was making me nuts.

    "Elizabeth." Roger extended his hand to me.

    "What?"

    "Come here."

    "Why?"

    "Because I don't think you should leave like this."

    "How should I leave then?"

    "By walking over here and letting me kiss you goodbye."

    Letting him—oh, well, why not, I figured, surprised and delighted that he was the one initiating the physical intimacy for a change. He had said "kiss," so my assumption was that our lips would make contact and that our tongues might even get involved. For a couple who hadn't had sex in months, that was pretty hot stuff.

    "Roger," I murmured, my voice softening, my body relaxing. I sidled up to him, rubbed his thigh, and puckered up.

    "Travel safely, hon," he said, then deposited a dry little peck on my cheek.

    Yeah, on my cheek. How about that for heat, huh? Now, do you see what I'm talking about?

    Where was the passion? The lust? The saliva? Where was the man who was so demonstrative when we were in the throes of our courtship? The man who claimed I turned him on, rang his chimes, lit his fire? The man who was so gallant, so chivalrous, so endearing the day he picked me up on that damn freeway? Was he still in there, still inside that body? Or had he been replaced by somebody's old-fart uncle? He was only forty at that point—just two years my senior and hardly ready to be carted off to an assisted living facility. So where was the guy I married? How was I going to save him? How was I going to save us?


Excerpted from THE SECRET INGREDIENT by Jane Heller. Copyright © 2002 by Jane Heller. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2006

    Robert Ludlum...NOT

    I have all of Robert Ludlum's novels and have enjoyed them immensely. I cannot say that of this book. Robert Ludlum may have created the Covert One series, but he surely had little to do with this novel. I had a problem with some of the relationships within this book. First, the characters 'Jon Smith' and 'Fred Klein' have appeared in each of the Covert One novels. Since Smith is supposed to work for Klein, Smith would show some deference towards Klein. That is how I would expect a Ludlum book to be writen, but not this novel. Klein comes accross as Smith's lackey and somewhat of a clownish figure. Another relationship that appears in all of the Covert One novels is that between the characters 'Smith' and 'Zellerbach.' They have been portrayed as close friends however, the relationship in this novel takes a somewhat perverse twist when Zellerbach is in the hospital in a coma and Smith is messaging Zellerbach's feet! This is something most guys would have a hard time envisioning. The author Lynds also seems to have a hard time defining the roles between NSA, NASA, and the president's national security advisor. Perhaps all of the Ns, Ss, and As were too overwelming. I would recommend Miss Lynds review Dan Browns novels for an overview of the roles each of those functions. Miss Lynds might also take a harder look at our military's senior commanders...the Army's Chief of Staff is a general (four star), not a lieutenant general (three star). The same is true of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Finally, who says 'damnation?' Lynds seems to be fond of this word since it appears so often at the lips of many different characters. This could have been a very entertaining novel, but Lynds managed to insert so many annoying things (see above) that my attention kept being distracted. I do not think I will buy another novel with her name on it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Rich with Scorching Suspense and Terrible Possibilities

    Robert Ludlum has always told tales that seemed light years ahead of their time, but as history has unfolded, so have the possibilities his novels have predicted. Here is another deadly plot that haunts our future in today's war on terrorism: a warning if you will. For this reason alone, the book deserves five stars, but it is also espionage at its most intriguing and heart-pounding pace. Once started, you can't put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2002

    A possible good plot destroyed by bad writing.

    Who really wrote this novel? The story is smothered by endless and unnecessary adjectives. A possible interesting and exciting plot is constantly distracted by countless descriptions which continue to interrupt the movement of the storyline. The book is overwhelmed by a travelogue of tedious trivia. I have always loved and enjoyed most of Robert Ludlum's other books, but this novel is disappointing to me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Lynds is the best

    Of all the Covert One authors I find Ms Lynds to be the best She develops the story and characters without letting one dominate the other

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Not ludlums style

    Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not a bad book if u are not truly a ludlum fan. You can easily tell that he had NO hand in writing ANY of the books that list a second author. This book contains only his characters not his writing style. Overall not a bad book but nothing close to what ludlum achieves. Not boring. So i would say go ahead and read it.

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  • Posted November 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very Fast Paced Action

    This was my first read of this author pair (Ludlum & Lynds) and I was very impressed. An immersive story with fast paced action and great characters. A good mix of cloak and dagger coupled with a very exciting high tech slant. Story plot centers around the teaming of a CIA, MI6 and Covert One (US) agencies as they battle the against a NATO team of insurgents with ties to Middle Eastern and Basque groups. I looked forward to reading more Covert One stories from this pair

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    Great book!

    I am a big Ludlum fan and have now read the first three of the covert one series. I will soon start the fourth. I highly recommend these books to anyone who likes a good thriller.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    Ludlum at his best

    Robert Ludlum is at the top if his game with this book. Thouroughly exciting plot, extremely well written.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Ludlum takes on France

    Although technically very far fetched, the story was a good escape. The book is very well read by Paul Michael who does an excellent job bringing the story to life. The concept of a computer that operates on DNA at the microbiological level is unbelievable, but not a unbelievable at the idea of France conquering the world!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    Excellent Book!

    One of my favorites in the Covert One series. This book was thrilling and exciting. Couldn't put it down.

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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    Would Recommend

    I am now reading my sixth book in the Covert-One series. They all have been an easy read with good story development. My only "complaint" has been that the stories seem to take place in European or Asian locations and it is sometimes difficult to follow the story because of unfamiliar names.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2004

    Good Read

    This book was interesting... I felt that it dragged at some parts but other than that it provides fun action scenes. One thing about this book I did not like was the alleged Arabic speech. I can speak and write Arabic fluently and I could not understand what the charachters were supposedly saying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2003

    Utra-Predictable Fantasy

    Almost everything about this book screams of political fantasy rather than the thriller it purports to be. Fantasy is fine but when you toss in bad delivery to pound away on a message, it loses everything. The plot doesn¿t twist ¿ it stalls at predictable points where the uninteresting ¿good guy¿ characters always live another day to shoot their overly described and oft mentioned weapons. Now to the heart of the story: It¿s about a US president using a secret agency named ¿Covert-One¿ to do everything on the sly. The country has an undisclosed operational anti-ballistic missile system as well. The French are the real bad guys and in the end their terrorist ally lives on, for a presumed future follow up, by escaping to Iraq. It¿s a tour du neo-conservative fantasy that would be enjoyed by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield et al and strives to play upon the sentiments thought by the authors to exist in our post 9-11 world. However, it is so blatantly black and white in its delivery to make it laughable. Skip reading it since it isn¿t literature but listen to it on audio in the car for laughs about shallowness or to play ¿predict the plot¿ with a friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2002

    Avid Cussler Fan finds another great read

    I've read a couple of Ludlum books over the years and this was the first in the Covert One Series....what a great fast read. I enjoyed this book so much I immediately ordered the first two in the series and can't wait for the fourth!

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    Posted February 8, 2011

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    Posted May 22, 2011

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    Posted January 22, 2011

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    Posted April 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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