The Last Man

( 6 )


A woman goes missing, sending a young nuclear engineer on a quest deep into the Judean desert to the legendary fortress of Masada, where secrets are concealed

When a young Israeli woman suddenly goes missing, her boyfriend, an American nuclear engineer, suspects her disappearance is connected to her tantalizing theory about the haunting fortress of Masada. He decides to travel to Herod's 2000 year old mountain fortress to see if her theory was right. There, he makes a discovery ...

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The Last Man: A Novel

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A woman goes missing, sending a young nuclear engineer on a quest deep into the Judean desert to the legendary fortress of Masada, where secrets are concealed

When a young Israeli woman suddenly goes missing, her boyfriend, an American nuclear engineer, suspects her disappearance is connected to her tantalizing theory about the haunting fortress of Masada. He decides to travel to Herod's 2000 year old mountain fortress to see if her theory was right. There, he makes a discovery so astonishing that forces from the dark side of Israeli intelligence begin to converge on him to deflect his pursuit of the truth by any means necessary. With the aid of a beautiful Israeli archaeologist, he struggles to bring to light the treasures he believes are concealed in the mountain, unaware that there is a dangerous contemporary secret at stake.

P.T. Deutermann's fifteenth novel, The Last Man, brings all the excitement and pulse-thumping action his fans have come to expect.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Deutermann (The Firefly) ventures into the religious artifact genre with this slow-moving, mildly suspenseful stand-alone rooted in Israel’s Masada story. In 73 C.E., the Roman legions lay siege to the fortress of Masada, where the last of the Zealots in the Jewish revolt against Rome are holed up. The 960 men, women, and children in the fortress plan to die by their own hands rather than allow the Romans to kill them. After all are dead, the “Last Man,” Judah Sicarius, hides a great treasure and then kills himself. In the present day, American David Hall comes to Masada on a secret mission to find that treasure. Various side plots, including one involving an antinuclear group, complicate Hall’s quest. The author tries the reader’s patience by taking too long to get to the good stuff, i.e., the treasure, and the solution to all the additional mysteries and a final revelation do little to add heat. (May)
From the Publisher
"Well-done...a terrific story... Damn good."—Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
Deutermann's latest (Nightwalkers, 2009, etc.) is a strong thriller that mixes archaeology, history and geopolitics. In A.D. 73, a few desperate Jews in a mountaintop holdout are about to be overrun by the Roman army that has laid siege. They prefer suicide to surrender. The last man, Judah Sicarius, is selected to make sure all his compatriots are dead, down to the last woman and child, and then he is to kill himself. Two millennia later, the American David Hall receives reluctant permission from authorities to explore parts of Masada, the mountain that in real life has become a revered historical site in Israel. But they don't fully trust him to leave the place undisturbed, so they assign archaeologist Dr. Judith Ressner to chaperone him. (Will the reader be surprised to learn that she's beautiful?) Hall masquerades as an enthusiastic amateur, but he has a secret agenda that leads him to break rules and violate people's trust. Even so, he acts without malice and is a likable character. Key to the story are natural cisterns inside the mountain that hold the accumulated rainwater of thousands of years. What is Hall's true interest? And why do authorities even care what he finds as long as he doesn't ruin any artifacts? Meanwhile, the widow Ressner provides an enjoyable subplot that threatens to turn romantic as she grapples with problems of her own. The perils in this novel come from an unexpected direction, and even once they are revealed there is one big secret left. Deutermann's descriptions of Masada, its cisterns and the Dead Sea are well-done indeed. In particular, Deutermann skillfully maintains tension right to the end. Unlike some thrillers that keep the reader's adrenaline going with increasing body counts and steamy sexual encounters, this one just tells a terrific story with a satisfying payoff. Damn good.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611063417
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 5/28/2012
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

P.T. DEUTERMANN spent twenty-six years in military and government service before retiring to begin his writing career. He is the author of thirteen novels and lives with his wife in North Carolina.

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Read an Excerpt

The Last Man

A Novel
By P. T. Deutermann

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2012 P. T. Deutermann
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312599454

David Hall took a final standing stretch at his seat before sitting back down and refastening his seat belt. The beauty queen masquerading as an El Al stewardess had slunk through first class to tell each of the ten passengers individually and somewhat breathlessly that the captain would soon be turning on the seat-belt sign in preparation for landing at Ben Gurion Airport. David had paid close attention to her every word and the effect they had on her quivering superstructure. At these prices she better be a beauty queen, he thought, although one look back into the coach section upon boarding had confirmed the wisdom of electing first class. The crowd back there was somewhat eclectic.
It was early afternoon as the Airbus descended toward Tel Aviv over the eastern Mediterranean. Virgil’s famously wine-dark sea glittered out the window, except that it was a deep blue, edged with precisely aligned, spidery whitecaps. The sea actually looked chilly. Well, why not, he thought. It was the first week in September, which meant that he would be visiting Israel four weeks before the major religious holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, compliments of careful planning. Landing and getting through security, immigration, and customs would be the first hurdles, especially with some of his special equipment. He had all the proper paperwork, which was good because the Israelis were extremely thorough about entry paperwork. The portable computer and his scuba regulator pack should not be a problem. Some of the seismic sensor stuff might attract attention, but it was pretty well disguised as part of his underwater camera equipment. Besides, everything had made it through the equally strict El Al security inspection back at Dulles, so he was fairly confident he would get it past the security people here in Tel Aviv. Immigration would be relatively pro forma for an American tourist, and customs, well, who ever knew about customs.
He swallowed as the cabin pressure was adjusted. He caught the beauty queen looking at him. In her tight-fitting uniform she could adjust the cabin pressure just by sitting down, he thought. He smiled at her and she smiled back, but it was a professional smile and not any indication of interest, he decided. He turned away, looking out the window for a first glimpse of Israel, but there was only the sea, a bit closer as the big jet bumped gently through light coastal clouds. He’d been planning this thing for a year now, ever since Adrian had disappeared. It still made his spine tingle when he thought about what he was going to attempt here and what he might discover on that haunted mountain down at the literal bottom of the world.
*   *   *
“He’s here,” the man with the pockmarked face breathed into the public pay phone, his face averted from the shuffling crowd of bleary-eyed tourists streaming past him from the customs hall.
“Anyone meet him besides his driver?”
“No. Shall I follow them out to the car, or are we done here?”
“You know the answer to that one.”
“Just thought I’d ask.”
“Shall I run that question by the boss for you?”
“Thank you, no.” The man in the phone booth was silent for a moment. “I’ll confirm him in the car, and again at the hotel.”
“Yes, you will.”
The watcher mouthed a silent insult, hung up, and hastened down the carpeted aisle of the customs area, keeping the big American and his driver in sight over the shoulders of the milling tourists. He thought this was all something of a waste of time: What did they think this American was going to do, jump in a sherut at the last minute and whisk off to Amman to see the king? According to his supervisor, they had the American’s official Israeli government itinerary, his hotel, his driver—what the hell was the big deal? A nobody nuclear engineer turned whistle-blower who was now famous in Washington for winning a seven-figure settlement after suing his former employer for wrongful termination. Coming to Israel to play amateur archaeologist, do some skindiving, and then go home. Ridiculous. Who could care? He wondered again whom he had pissed off to get a shit detail like this on a Friday afternoon.
The throng of tourists bunched up again at the row of glass doors leading out to the public transportation area, and the watcher turned to look out the windows when his subject stopped. The American, David Hall, seemed to take the delay in stride, indicating that the driver should put the bags down for a minute, let the crowds ahead clear out. The American carried one large, awkward-looking case, probably his diving gear. He also carried what appeared to be a portable computer. The driver was humping two large suitcases and an overnight bag on an airport cart. Hall was holding on to that portable computer like it was his baby.
Trying not to be too obvious about it, the watcher confirmed the briefed description: Caucasian male, close to two meters in height, late thirties, barrel-chested, eighty, maybe ninety kilos, black hair laced with some gray, square face, a Semitic nose that would make a rabbi proud, prominent chin, and the tanned complexion of an outdoorsman. This Hall fellow didn’t look like an engineer at all, certainly not like the Israeli engineers and scientists the watcher had seen on the telly. This one had big, strong-looking hands, wide shoulders, and a lot of solid muscle under that expensive sport coat. In that regard he truly stood out from the rest of the tourists, who were mostly old and overweight. Hall: Was that a Jewish name in America? He certainly had the Moses nose for it.
The watcher took care not to stare directly. His instincts told him that the American appeared to be aware of his surroundings. He was definitely looking around in a manner that belied his informal, relaxed pose with the driver. The briefer had mentioned that there was an intelligence interest in this American, although what that was had not been explained. Even so, the watcher had been instructed to pay attention to his tradecraft, because there was always the possibility that this American had had some field training. The watcher looked at him again. No way, he thought. Guy looks like a rich playboy, with all that fancy luggage and his fashionably thin computer.
One of the ubiquitous airport security teams, consisting of a man and a woman in rumpled army khakis, strolled by, the noses of their shoulder-slung submachine guns pointing lazily at the floor. They looked like brother and sister. They gave the nondescript Israeli lounging against a concrete pillar, dressed in tan slacks and a cheap sport shirt, the once-over and then, recognizing him for what he was, looked immediately away and kept going. By then the crowd at the doors was thinning out and the American was helping his driver gather up the bags, and then they were pushing through the glass doors to the usual chaos outside. The watcher followed them from inside the terminal building, observing until they stopped at a shiny if elderly four-door white Mercedes.
The watcher waited for the American to get in the car, right rear seat, just like some stuck-up officer. Next stop would be the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, unless of course they really were going to make a quick getaway and go underground to meet some CIA fiends. Right. Wanting a cigarette, he glanced at his watch. Four forty-five, almost Shabbat, so of course all the CIA agents would be bellied up to the bar at the Sheraton by now. The watcher was not religious, but he was definitely ready for a day off. This American was boring, like most of them. At least he wasn’t fat, like most of them.

Copyright 2012 by P. T. Deutermann


Excerpted from The Last Man by P. T. Deutermann Copyright © 2012 by P. T. Deutermann. 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
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 26, 2012

    One of his best in a while.

    While I enjoy all his books this one has that extra adventure and suspense reminiscent of his earlier books. It's a little slow at the beginning but then develops well and takes you along to the end. A good read, well done.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2013

    Totally excellent for a variation on an old piece of history.

    The story starts slowly without the current trend toward "instant-action", or "instant crisis" ....... which is a welcome feature. The necessary parts of a knowledge of the history surrounding the Masada mount are filtered in bits and pieces without a pedantic essay. The building "anticipations", of both personal interactions, and the variation of the known history are nicely paced and do not overplay to the to overly dramatic.

    A modest knowledge of the "Jewish revolt" of 70AD helps but is not essential.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    A nice read.

    I enjoyed it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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