The Last Prophecy (Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea Series #7)

The Last Prophecy (Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea Series #7)

4.6 3
by Jon Land
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

1945: While liberating a concentration camp, an American medical unit uncovers something beneath a body-laden trench. Sixty years later, the survivors of that unit are systematically murdered because of what they saw.

The Present: Enter former Palestinian-American detective Ben Kamal and his Israeli counterpart, Danielle Barnea. Working for the United

Overview

1945: While liberating a concentration camp, an American medical unit uncovers something beneath a body-laden trench. Sixty years later, the survivors of that unit are systematically murdered because of what they saw.

The Present: Enter former Palestinian-American detective Ben Kamal and his Israeli counterpart, Danielle Barnea. Working for the United Nations, Ben and Danielle are forced to return to the Middle East to investigate a massacre in a Palestinian village. The quickly learn that the roots of that massacre lie elsewhere, in another era, on another continent.

While Ben follows the trail of the shadowy force responsible, Danielle finds herself swept into a maelstrom where the past and the present collide, joined by an ancient text of prophecies that predicts a cataclysmic event about to strike the United States. The only way to change a fate foretold long before is to decipher a cryptic message shrouded in secrecy and guarded by a hidden army.

As time ticks down, Ben and Danielle face off against a new and all-powerful enemy with its own crazed reasons for wanting America's very way-of-life destroyed. Their only hope: to use The Last Prophecy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Land's series seems to gain momentum with every installment, and his latest is as timely and extravagantly plotted as ever. In their seventh adventure, dynamic law enforcement duo and lovers Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea are dispatched by their new employer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, to investigate a massacre in the Palestinian village of Bureij. Ben, a rugged Palestinian-American detective, and Danielle, a beautiful former Israeli police inspector, soon discover that the massacre has little to do with current tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, the attack is rooted in a discovery made by Allied soldiers in 1945. The mysterious cache of steel canisters uncovered under stacks of corpses at Buchenwald pulses beneath the present-day action like a ticking time bomb. Everyone who has come into contact with the canisters in the half-century since their discovery has wound up dead, and a Nostradamus prophecy of universal destruction adds another layer of menace to the tale. Ben and Danielle's investigation leads them into conflict with renegades all over the globe, including the last vestiges of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard and a network of rogue ex-Soviet moles. Land's prose can be a little overheated, but the breakneck pace and chockablock plotting leave protagonists (and the civilized world) constantly teetering on the brink of destruction. Highly entertaining from start to finish, this is prime escapist fiction, implausible yet riveting. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Seventh in Land's swiftly paced prisoners-of-a-world-in-conflict saga. Center stage again are Palestinian-American Police Inspector Ben Kamal and his beloved, ex-Israeli Chief Inspector Danielle Barnea, who is now a fugitive from Israel and works with Ben for the United Nations Safety and Security Service. In The Blue Widows (2003), the couple faced down terrorists who hoped to fulfill a prophecy about the Black Death by means of a plot enjoined by terrorists and drug companies to kill half of the US population. Switch now to the prophecies of Nostradamus and the present-day massacre of a Palestinian village. First, though, back in 1945, a team of American soldiers liberating Buchenwald find under a pit of corpses four large sealed steel containers-a McGuffin not so distant from the one in The Maltese Falcon. As with the Falcon, we don't find out what's in the containers until near novel's end, but everyone tied to these containers winds up dead. Ben and Danielle are working against plots in different parts of the world that happen later to join in with the Nostradamus plot-itself an End of All Things prophecy bent on the destruction of all US states. While Ben chases down an Iraqi villain in the new Baghdad, the UN sends Danielle back to Israel on a UN visa, where she's still wanted but is allowed in because the Israelis hate the hypocritical UN as strongly as they do the Palestinians (and as Danielle did when she worked for Israeli Security). Her presence now will allow Israel the power to deny everything in the event it doesn't hear what it wants about the Palestinian massacre she's investigating. While Ben and Danielle draw ever closer together, both meet surprise bursts of flyingbullets in every fourth or fifth chapter. Engaging heartstuff about lovers divided by religious loyalties, while Land's mock-serious pulp fiction plot moves hell-bent-just as fans want and as Land loves to deliver.
From the Publisher
"Highly entertaining from start to finish, this is prime escapist fiction."

Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765348500
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
12/28/2004
Series:
Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea Series , #7
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
3.94(w) x 6.74(h) x 1.16(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Last Prophecy


By Jon Land

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2004 Jon Land
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-5768-7


CHAPTER 1

LOGON COMPLETE ALL STATIONS CONFIRMED ACTIVE ONLINE ENCRYPTION PROCEDURES IN EFFECT

MESSAGE RUNNING

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


THE SITUATION HAS BEEN CONTAINED AS OF TODAY. ALL PROCEEDING AGAIN ON SCHEDULE.

From: GREAT BRITAIN
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


DISCUSS POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


LIMITED.

From: RUSSIA X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


SPECIFY.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


EXPECT MANDATED INVESTIGATION. EASILY CONTAINABLE.

From: JAPAN
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


CONTAINMENT CRUCIAL. OTHERWISE SUGGEST PUSHING BACK TIMETABLE.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


AGENTS ACTIVATED. ALTERATION OF TIMETABLE NOT PRACTICAL. ANY ALTERATION THREATENS PROJECT GOAL.

From: FRANCE
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


HOW MANY DEAD?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


REPEAT MESSAGE.

From: CHINA
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


HOW MANY KILLED TO CONTAIN SITUATION?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


34. ACCEPTABLE NUMBERS. PRIMARY THREAT ELIMINATED. COLLATERAL DAMAGE EXPECTED.

From: GERMANY
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


ARE WE CERTAIN PRIMARY THREAT ISOLATED PRIOR TO CONTAINMENT?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


NO EVIDENCE OF SHARED INTEL.

From: JAPAN
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


SECONDARY TARGETS?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


ONE. NO COMPLICATIONS EXPECTED.

From: RUSSIA
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


CONFIRM COUNTDOWN TO PROMETHEUS.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean

TEN DAYS.


MESSAGE TERMINATED

CHAPTER 2

"You're not needed here, señor," Colonel Riaz said stiffly. "Everything is under control."

Ben Kamal trained the binoculars one of Riaz's men had provided on the school. "How many hostages still inside?"

"Fourteen."

"That doesn't qualify as under control."

"We have gained the release of thirty-one, señor."

Ben pulled the binoculars from his eyes and looked at Riaz. The stiff wind blew some of his neatly combed hair onto his forehead and he brushed it aside. Like his father's, Ben's hair had actually thickened with age even as the first tinges of gray dappled the dark mane. He was past forty now, and crow's feet dug deeper around his eyes, seeming to dim their radiant shade of blue. Ben had never liked the color of his eyes, wishing they were darker, just as he wished his stomach was as flat and his build as powerful as Riaz's.

"Does that include the three killed when the gunmen took the school?" he asked the colonel.

Riaz stiffened. His dark brow was creased with sweat, and now beads of it had formed on both deeply pockmarked cheeks. He mopped at the right cheek with a forearm. "One of those three was my man: the security guard."

"And one of them was the U.N.'s: the principal. Which means there was one child among the three." Ben's stare hardened. "Who does he belong to, Colonel?"

Riaz scowled. "We did not ask for the U.N.'s help."

"You didn't have to. It's our school."

Ben had been in New York for security strategy meetings at United Nations headquarters when Alexis Arguayo personally pulled him out. Arguayo, head of the U.N.'s Safety and Security Service, was Ben's direct superior. Arguayo had lured him into the organization with a promise of excellent pay and the opportunity to travel to exotic locales in primarily an advisory capacity. That all changed with the bombing of the U.N. compound in Baghdad at the former Canal Hotel. Suddenly Ben was thrust into the limelight as the lead United Nations representative involved in the investigation. For everyone else involved, the results of that investigation were as clear as the culprits were obvious. While others were busy holding press conferences, Ben squirreled his way into the bowels of the compound where he ultimately unearthed a hidden warren of storage chambers that led to the basis for a conclusion to which he alone subscribed.

Ben followed procedure and filed his report through the proper channels, a report that was swiftly denounced as outlandish and totally lacking in fact or evidence. Before he could prove his point, Ben was pulled from the investigation and returned to advisory status where he languished for six months, until that morning. Two hours after Arguayo had pulled him from the meeting, Ben was on a plane to Bogotá. After arriving, he was driven ninety minutes south to the town of Macerta where Colombian rebels had taken students hostage at a school operated under the auspices of the United Nations education division.

Riaz leaned closer and lowered his voice. "I'm going to tell you something, Inspector," he said. "You see that man over there, standing behind our line?"

Ben followed Riaz's eyes, grateful to be out of reach of the colonel's foul-smelling breath, and focused on a well-dressed man with high cheekbones and powerful Indian features.

"I see him."

"His name is Pablo Salgado, Inspector. He is a top official in what's left of the Medellín cartel. Salgado's son is among the hostages."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"This is a personal matter, a drug matter. This was a kidnapping gone wrong. What it becomes now," Riaz added with a shrug, "it becomes."

"Salgado's son is in first grade, Colonel. I doubt very much he even knows what drugs are."

"This is Colombia, Inspector. Sometimes it is better to let these things work out by themselves."

"Do you think the parents of the other thirteen children would agree with you?"

"Their opinions are unimportant," Riaz said.

Ben nodded tightly. "So the gunmen kill Salgado's son and Salgado takes his revenge. ..."

Riaz's eyebrows flickered. "That's what the Americans want, isn't it?"

"I'm American."

"I'm sorry. You look ..."

"Palestinian-American."

"Oh," Riaz said, and left it there.

"This has been going on for seventy-two hours now, Colonel. They ran out of food and water twelve hours ago, which means you're running out of time."

"That's the idea."

Ben looked toward Pablo Salgado, struggling to light a cigarette in a trembling hand, his own soldiers who had accompanied him powerless to do anything but hold the match. He saw Salgado as a man, a father.

Ben turned back toward Riaz. "They've asked for food."

"Yes."

"And you've refused."

"Of course. My troops are in position, señor. I expect to receive the okay to storm the building once night falls."

Ben's mouth tightened. He checked the sky. Another ninety minutes of light, two hours at the outside. Riaz wouldn't be too concerned about casualties; he had already made that clear. Ben looked toward Salgado, a father about to lose a son to another kind of senseless war.

Ben yanked the cell phone from Riaz's belt and thrust it toward him. "There's been a change in plans. Tell the men inside the food is coming."

Riaz gave Ben a long look and snickered, flashing a set of yellowed teeth. "You have no authority here, Inspector. You are strictly an observer."

"And right now I'm observing a man on the verge of causing the United Nations to pull out of his country in total," Ben said, counting on the chance that Riaz didn't see through his bluff. "How do you think your government would feel about that, Colonel?"

Riaz's face reddened. "What do you want, señor?" he asked, barely able to contain his anger.

"To deliver the food they've been asking for."

Riaz caught the look in Ben's eyes and nodded slowly. "My men will not help you. You're on your own."

Ben continued holding the phone out until Riaz snatched it from him. "That's nothing new."

CHAPTER 3

Mohammed Sahib yanked open the warehouse door and, smiling, beckoned the woman to follow him inside. "Is better than what you were expecting, yes?"

Danielle Barnea eyed the huge stacks of flour, foodstuffs, and seed.

"You wish to inspect? Please, please ..."

Danielle moved closer to the sacks, each of them clearly stamped with the United Nations insignia. Outside, the last of the Somali day was fading fast, leaving behind steam-baked air that smelled to Danielle like burning rubber. In these same Mogadishu streets, eighteen American Special Operations troops had lost their lives more than a decade before. That reminded Danielle of some of the ill-fated missions she had been lucky to survive during her days with Israel's Sayaret Matkal, the elite Special Ops force responsible for actions undertaken outside the country. That seemed like a lifetime ago now. So much had come and gone that had led to this operation, brought her here not on behalf of Israel, but the United Nations. Ten months and at least that many assignments for the U.N.'s Safety and Security Service, and it still felt odd.

"You like?" Sahib asked, startling her. He had drawn up close while her mind had been wandering and the smell rising off him was a combination of onions and cheap tobacco. His face was thin, depressions worn into the center of both cheeks that deepened each time he flashed a smile.

She stepped lithely to one side and he tapped one of the sacks, as Danielle watched. He had what looked like a .45 caliber pistol shoved down his baggy pants that billowed over his gaunt frame.

"Is perfect arrangement, yes? United Nations sends for people. We steal before it gets to people. Sell low to brokers who sell high. Everybody win. Makes me feel like capitalist."

Sahib smiled again, his teeth blindingly white.

Danielle ran her eyes about the warehouse, cataloging everything for her report. She counted four armed guards in addition to Sahib, none of them paying much attention, their assault rifles shouldered. The missing shipments had been plaguing the United Nations for years, boatloads of goods that never reached the poor and needy they were supposed to aid. It was estimated by some that fifty percent of all U.N. shipments to Third World countries like Somalia ended up in the hands of black marketeers, corrupt government officials, or a combination thereof.

"I have medicines too, antibiotics. Good ones. You like?"

Danielle turned back to Sahib. "Not this trip."

"We ship anywhere, by boat or plane. Just like FedEx. Plane costs more."

Danielle kept scanning the room, counting the sacks in her mind for her report. Her job here was done. Her cover had held and she had made contact with Sahib, something no other United Nations operative had managed to do. Now she would give Sahib a deposit and provide him with shipping instructions. The balance, of course, would never be paid. The shipping instructions were a sham. U.N. peacekeeping troops stationed twenty miles to the north would seize the stolen goods as soon as she provided the location of the warehouse and security posted in the area.

A high-pitched horn honked behind her and Danielle turned to see an ancient, weathered cargo truck waiting outside the warehouse.

"You will excuse me, yes?"

With that, Sahib trotted away from her and reverently greeted a stout man who had emerged from the passenger side of the truck, preceded by a figure who was clearly his bodyguard as well as driver. The stout man embraced Sahib lightly and then stepped back into Danielle's line of vision.

She felt something shift in her stomach. The stout man was Sharif ali-Aziz Moussan, an Iraqi terrorist with strong links to al-Qaeda. Rumors that he had been killed during the American invasion had been unfounded, leaving him as one of Iraq's most sought-after fugitives still at large.

Moussan spoke softly to Sahib. The Somali smiled tensely, his gaze drifting briefly back to Danielle as he explained her presence here. Moussan nodded, apparently satisfied, while Danielle bemoaned the fact she had come here unarmed in the guise of a conduit and broker. After all, this was purely an intelligence-gathering mission; her job was to turn over whatever she learned for further action and no more.

But Sharif ali-Aziz Moussan would be long gone by the time that further action transpired. She watched Sahib lead Moussan toward another section of the warehouse. The bodyguard who had emerged from the truck ahead of Moussan stepped out of the shadows and fell into step behind them.

Danielle's heart fluttered. She recognized him as well. The man's name was Hassan Tariq, a colonel in Iraq's Special Republican Guard, a man who had personally supervised the guerrilla war waged against American and British troops that had been raging since Baghdad fell.

Across the warehouse, Danielle watched Sahib yank back a thick canvas divider to reveal stacks and stacks of weapons ordnance. Too far away to discern anything more specific than that, she drifted closer, keeping behind some semblance of cover as best she could. The language denoting the contents of the crates was French, not a total surprise considering France's propensity for selling to anyone who could pay. So far as she knew, though, the French arms traders had never done business in this part of the world, meaning this particular shipment must have come from somewhere else or been stolen in transit. Then again, it was also possible the shipment had been smuggled out of Iraq in the early days of the war and brought here for safekeeping until such time as the weapons were needed.

Danielle could read French well enough to recognize the markings on the various crates and boxes: ammunition, assault rifles, grenades, antitank weapons — the crates contained everything a small army needed to wage war, she realized, as Moussan swung suddenly and thrust a finger in her direction.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Last Prophecy by Jon Land. Copyright © 2004 Jon Land. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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.

Meet the Author

Jon Land is the acclaimed author of many bestsellers, including The Last Prophecy, Blood Diamonds, The Walls of Jericho, The Pillars of Solomon, A Walk in the Darkness, Keepers of the Gate, and The Blue Widows. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Last Prophecy (Ben Kamal and Danielle Barnea Series #7) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading the DaVinci code I read many other books but could not satisfy the thrill sekker in me -- until now. The Last Prophecy gave me that same 'edge of my seat' sensation and I highly recommend it to adventure seekers.
IreadJG More than 1 year ago
Good read for a rainy day or just if you need some brain candy. Plot is predictable but fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She was the commander of the Israeli National Police but became persona non grata in the country she loved. Ben Kamal was a former Palestinian-American detective until he realized that nothing he could do could change the political climate. Unable to stomach the hopelessness of the situation and wanting to be with his exiled lover Danielle Barnea, they accept jobs in the safety and security service of the United Nations and live together in London...................... They are sent to the Palestinian village of Bureij where almost a hundred residents including their United Nations teachers were massacred in what was made to look like an atrocity of the Israeli government. Ben learns that the killers were Iraqi Special Forces sent out of the country before the American led invasion. The target of the killings was the son of one of the men of the 121st Evacuation Hospital who was sent to Buchenwald who found four trunks under a mass grave. In the present, the remaining members of the 121st are being killed off one by one for what they know. Danielle and Ben soon uncover a plot that will make Sept 11 look minor.................................. Once again Jon Land delivers an action packed thriller that takes events from today¿s headlines and weaves them into a terrific story. Danielle and Ben are perfectly suited for their new jobs because they are citizens of the world since no country will claim them yet they fight to make the globe a safer place to live in. Though in many ways similar to previous tales in the exciting series, THE LAST PROPHECY is an outstanding one sitting reading experience........................ Harriet Klausner