Assassin's Code (Joe Ledger Series #4)

Assassin's Code (Joe Ledger Series #4)

by Jonathan Maberry


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In ASSASSIN'S CODE, the fourth book in New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger series, Joe Ledger and the DMS go on a relentless chase to stop an ancient order of killers from plunging the entire world into Holy War.

When Joe Ledger and Echo Team rescue a group of American college kids held hostage in Iran, the Iranian government then asks them to help find six nuclear bombs planted in the Mideast oil fields. These stolen WMDs will lead Joe and Echo Team into hidden vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, betrayal, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered killers with a thirst for blood. Accompanied by the beautiful assassin called Violin, Joe follows a series of clues to find the Book of Shadows, which contains a horrifying truth that threatens to shatter his entire worldview. They say the truth will set you free…not this time. The secrets of the Assassin's Code will set the world ablaze.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312552206
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Series: Joe Ledger Series , #4
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 184,026
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.08(h) x 1.14(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestseller and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Patient Zero, the Pine Deep Trilogy, The Wolfman, Zombie CSU and They Bite. His work for Marvel Comics includes the Punisher, Wolverine, DoomWar, Marvel Zombie Return and Black Panther. His Joe Ledger series has been optioned for TV by Sony Pictures.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Starbox Coffee

Tehran, Iran

June 15, 7:23 a.m.


She said, “Look down at your chest.”

I held the cell phone to my ear as I bent my head. Two red dots, quivering slightly, danced right over my heart.

“You are one second away from death,” said the caller.

Chapter Two

Starbox Coffee

Tehran, Iran

June 15, 7:25 a.m.

I didn’t know the voice. She was a stranger. I didn’t know her name. Didn’t know anything except that she had my cell number. Ten seconds ago I was about to go into Starbox—yes, they really call it that in Iran—for a cup of bold and a couple of pastries. The street outside was empty.

I looked up. The shooters had to be in the building across the street, maybe the fifth floor. Didn’t really matter, the range was a hundred yards and even a sloppy marksman could punch my ticket at that distance. I doubted these guys were sloppy. And there were two of them. I was also pretty sure I knew why they were after me.

“Okay,” I said.

“I need you to confirm your name,” she said in Persian. She had a very sexy voice for a psycho killer. Low and smoky.


“Because I have to be certain.”

“Geez, sister,” I said, “if this is how you ID your targets then I don’t think you’re going to get that contract killer merit badge.”

The joke didn’t translate well but she made a sound. It might have been a laugh. Glad she was amused. Sweat was pouring down my spine. The two little laser sights gave me no chance at all to run.

“If this was simply a matter of killing you,” she said, “then we’d have done it and taken your wallet for identification.” She had a European accent but she was hiding it by trying to speak Persian like a native. Kind of weird. Not the weirdest thing going on at the moment.

“Um … thanks?” I said.

“Tell me your name,” she said again.

There had to be three of them. Two shooters and her. Was she the spotter? If not, there could have been one or two others, spotting for the gunmen. Or it might have been the three of them.

“Ebenezer Scrooge,” I said.

“No games,” she warned. “Your name.”


“Full name.”


One of the laser sights drifted down from my chest and settled on my crotch.

“Once more?” she coaxed.

“Joseph Edwin Ledger.” No screwing around this time.




“Captain. Want my shoe size?”

There was a pause. “I was warned about you. You think you’re funny.”

“Everyone thinks I’m funny.”

“I doubt that’s true. How often do you make Mr. Church laugh out loud?”

“Never heard of him,” I lied.

Now I was confused. Up till now I thought she was part of a team looking to take me down for the little bit of nastiness I got into last night. Echo Team and I went into a high-security facility and liberated three twentysomethings who had been arrested a year ago while hiking in the mountains. The Iraqi mountains. An Iranian patrol crossed the border, nabbed the hikers, and started making noise in the media that the three hikers had illegally trespassed and therefore they were spies. They weren’t. One was a former Peace Corps team leader who was there with his animal behaviorist girlfriend who wanted to take photos of a kind of rare tiger to help her with her master’s thesis. Acinonyx jubatus venaticus. Asiatic cheetah. Also known as the Iranian cheetah. No, I’m not making this up.

The hikers had been used as pawns in Iran’s ongoing policy of stalling and disinformation regarding their nuclear program. Normally we’d let the State Department and world opinion exert pressure on the Iranian government … but the third member of the hiking party was the only son of one of America’s most important senators. The real twist is that the senator was a key player on several committees crucial to the U.S. war effort. Everyone with a spoonful of brains knew that the Iranians staged the whole thing to be able to turn dials on Senator McHale.

And it was starting to work. So the president asked Church to make the problem go away. We were Church’s response.

“So, who gets to slap the cuffs on me?” I asked.

This time she did laugh.

“No, Captain Ledger,” she said, “here’s how it’s going to work. As soon as I am done speaking you will turn off your cell phone and remove the battery and the SIM card. Put the SIM card and phone into different pockets. Walk to the curb and drop the battery into the culvert. Then I want you to go into the café. Order a coffee, sit in the corner. Do not reassemble your phone. Do not use the store’s phone. Write no notes to the staff or other customers. Sit and enjoy your coffee. Read the newspaper. Ahmadinejad is insisting that the dramatics at the prison last night were the result of a boiler explosion. You should find that amusing. Do not make any calls. Maybe have a second cup of coffee.”

“Do you work for Starbox? If so, I can’t say I dig your new marketing strategy.”

She ignored me. Her resistance to my wit was almost as disconcerting as the laser sights on my junk. Almost.

She said, “In a few minutes a person will enter the café. A man. He will recognize you and will join you. The two of you will have a conversation and then he will leave. Once he has left, you will wait another ten minutes before you reassemble your phone. You are on your own to find a new battery. You are supposed to be resourceful, so I imagine you will solve that problem without my advice.”

“Then what do I do?”

“Then,” she said, “you will do whatever you judge best.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“When do I meet you?”

“You don’t.”

“I’d like to.”

“No,” she said with another little laugh, “you would not.”

“Tell me something, miss, why go to these lengths? This could have been arranged with a lot less drama.”

“No it could not. If you are smarter than you appear, then you’ll understand why in a few minutes.”

“These laser sights going to be on me the whole time? It’s a lousy fashion statement and people will talk.”

There was a moment’s silence on the other end and then both sights vanished. I had to control myself from collapsing against the wall. I was pretty sure it would be two or three weeks before my nuts felt safe enough to climb down out of my chest cavity. My heart was beating like a jazz drum solo—loud, fast, and with no discernable rhythm.

“The clock is now ticking, Captain Ledger. Once I disconnect, please follow the instructions you have been given.”

“Wait—” I said, but the line went dead.

I held the phone in my hand and looked across the street to the office building. Even without the sights I knew they could take me anytime they wanted.

There were no real options left. Just because the laser sights weren’t on me didn’t mean that I was safe. I think they’d used them for effect. It was broad daylight; they certainly had scopes. So I did as I was told. I dismantled my phone and put the SIM card in my left coat pocket and the empty phone casing in my jeans. With great reluctance I walked to the edge of the pavement and stared for a moment down into the black hole of the culvert.

“Crap,” I said, and dropped the battery, which vanished without a trace. All I heard was a dull plop as it landed in the subterranean muck.

Before I turned to go into the store I scratched the tip of my nose with my forefinger. I was sure they’d see that, too.


Copyright © 2012 by Jonathan Maberry

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Part One: Acts of War,
Part Two: By the Rivers Dark,
Part Three: The Blood of Angels,
Also by Jonathan Maberry,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews

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Assassin's Code: A Joe Ledger Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
SilentMikeGA More than 1 year ago
Having read the previous books in the Joe Ledger series, I was extremely excited to see Assassin's code come along at the time of the year I'm usually enduring a bit of a dry spell regarding new reading material. The caustic, sarcastic dialogue of Joe Ledger never fails to bring a smile to my face, usually in the midst of some life-or-death situation in which the character frequently finds himself. The alternative history Maberry spins is well thought out and fully engaging. It really had me flashing back to what it felt like reading the Davinci Code. I can't wait to see what world of hurt he drops Joe Ledger into next.
AnnieMod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What do you get if you mix old manuscripts that everyone had heard about but do not really understand, a secret society (or three) , old church secrets and a treat to the whole world? No, the answer is not a Dan Brown novel (although Maberry manages to mention Brown). Let me try again - Iran, nuclear bombs and hostages. No again - it is not a commentary on the current politics. Let's see if this will help - a team from a secret American agency, a team leader which is not exactly sane, a villain, a computer genius and a lot of firearms. Don't give up now - I know that it sounds as half the thrillers these days. But mix all these together and add a dose of love, some horror (mild... although some of the scenes are pretty graphic), an old race that maybe wants to erase humanity, supernatural and genetics mixed into one and a new redefinition of a known part of horror books and what you get is Maberry's book. I would not call it original - it is a mixup of everything that sells these days. And such a mix rarely succeeds. Somehow this one works. This is the forth book in the series so there is a lot of backstory (and we get the relevant parts but if you have issues with knowing what will happen before reading a book and you plan to read the first entries, don't start here) and I might had missed some of it. But it did not take away anything from the story - it is self contained and it is one of those books that you cannot put down - things just happen on every page, people die, non-people die, the good guys have great ideas at the right time and the bad ones - well, they are just unlucky. And despite the end that looks like an end and closes all story lines, it is open ended - the very last page throws you into the "huh?" realm and opens the door for another book in the series. It is almost formulaic - in a lot of cases you know what will happen - otherwise the story will have nowhere to go or will need to wrap up. But it works. It does not pretend to be something it is not and it is a fast read. And there are times when someone needs a book like that. A small warning: It is not a straight up thriller, it is not a supernatural book either. It is both at the same time. Which allows the author to come up with any scenario he can think of... and get away with it. Plausible and believable are two words I would not use for that book; amusing and readable are two that I would.
rossbm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So Joe Ledger and Echo Team are up to their chins in it again. Poor Joe seems to be losing his mind-just a little. He is also separated from his team for the better part of the novel, which, if you know Joe, just means that his personal body count went up significantly. He has help from an outside source that he's not sure what to think of, as well as his dog, Ghost. And the threat this time is more deadly and immediate than any he has faced so far with the DMS. The bad guys are sufficiently creepy (enough to scare the pants off Joe), and they seem to be coming from all sides. There are some recurring charcters in this one. Some who's motives might surprise, others that you would expect nothing less from. And Mr. Church allows us to learn just a little more about his life and who he may be or once was. This one will rewrite history, folks!
TheAlternativeOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book Review ¿ Assassin¿s Code (Joe Ledger 04) by Jonathan Maberry Assassin¿s Code Joe Ledger Series Book Four Jonathan Maberry Trade Paperback (Advance Reader¿s Copy) Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Publication date: April 10, 2012 ISBN-13: 978-0312552206 432 pages Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. I requested Assassins Code from a group of Advance Reader¿s Copies simply because the cover intrigued me. I know, I know, ¿looks can be deceiving¿ and ¿you can¿t judge a book by its cover¿ but in this case I wasn¿t disappointed. I have to confess that I've never read any of the other books in the Joe Ledger series and starting with the fourth book is probably not the best way to be introduced to a series but there was absolutely no disconnect in the story for me and I was able to follow it easily without having any of the back story of the first three books. The first compact chapter, only 48 words long, hooked me immediately and the story only got better from there. After reading Assassin¿s Code I will definitely pick up the other titles in the series. I admit to having an affinity towards techno-thrillers with strong characters (i.e. Steve Berry¿s Cotton Malone series) and Assassin¿s Code fits into that mold nicely. In some ways Joe Ledger reminds me a bit of Cotton Malone, Mac Bolan, and Doc Savage all mixed into one character. All are, or were, government contract operatives, are tough, witty, and sarcastic and their exploits are packed full of action scenes. The only real difference between them is that Joe Ledger is an extremely funny character. No, I take that back. What Joe Ledger thinks and says is often times hilarious. The novels are similar in some respects, as well. The plots are always eventful and conclude effectively and the suspense leading up to the climax is always ¿edge of the seat¿ and full of entertaining twists and turns. In Assassin¿s Code, Joe Ledger and his team are tasked with extricating three American¿s from an Iranian prison after they are taken into custody on accusations of spying. In the process, Joe meets a member of the Iranian government that tells him seven black-market Russian nuclear bombs are in the hands of terrorists and that their mere presence threatens both countries. Ledger and his team need to find them and quickly. Mixed into that story line is a clandestine society bent on keeping their secrets hidden and destroying their enemies, namely anyone associated with Ledger and his team. The premise, ¿the enemy of my enemy is my friend¿ while cliché in some respects, stands up well under the hand of Jonathan Maberry who weaves as suspenseful and thrilling a tale as I¿ve read in a very long time. Recommended for thriller/suspense buffs, fans of military fiction, enthusiast of character driven suspense, and anyone that enjoys secret government operatives, spies, political intrigue, and secret societies peppered throughout a solid fictional drama.4 out of 5 starsThe Alternative Southeast Wisconsin
yoyogod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Assassin's Code is the first of Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger novels that I've read. I do have a copy of Patient Zero on my Kindle, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Being unfamiliar with the backstory did make things a little confusing, but much of it is hinted at in the book itself.From what I gather, Joe Ledger is a commando, or something of that nature, who works for a secret government organization called the DMS. He and his team are in Iran, where they have just rescued a kidnapped group of American Hikers. Afterwards, Joe is forced to meet with an Iranian official who ask Joe to find some stolen nukes. Unfortunately, it turns out that the nukes are in the hands of a cult of vampires.This leads to a lot of fighting, and shooting, and people getting their throats torn out, which is all very satisfying in a thriller. It also leads to a heck of a lot of phone calls being made. At some points it seemed like Joe would either be calling someone or getting a phone call from someone just about every other page. This slowed down the pace a good bit, but didn't detract from the overall story too much. It's still a very thrilling book.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay...Maberry has corrected some of the flaws I felt existed in The King of Plagues. First, the villains are no longer fraternity boys working on world domination in between participating in stupid rituals. Second, Joe has gotten over himself quite a bit and only managed to mention his tripart personality a few times per book instead of per chapter.It continues to be largely solo-Joe, which isn't really good or bad though I do enjoy his team. I like the hints about a possible Significant Other after the debacle his love life has been, and the glimpses into Mr. Church's past are quite intriguing.Perhaps the biggest change in this book is that Maberry is teasing us with actually going into supernatural territory instead of playing with the whole Horror Done Through Science approach he used in the first three books. The jury's still out on that one.In summary it's a somewhat formulaic thriller/horror story with fast-paced writing and plenty of action. I rather like Joe, Ghost and and the supporting case. Nothing earthshaking but give it a try if you like the genre.
enoch_elijah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In "Patient Zero" Jonathan Maberry introduced us to zombies created by Islamic terrorists; In "The Dragon Factory" he introduced us to genetically altered human/animal soldiers; In "The King of Plagues" we met a super secret organization of "kings" whose goal is world domination and who will do anything to achieve their goals, including spreading the ebola virus. Well now, in "Assassin's Code" Maberry takes us back to the supernatural (sort of) and confronts us with vampire assassins! Joe Ledger and his DMS team are on the hunt again (or being hunted!) and once more we follow the complex Ledger as he attempts to save humanity from the forces of evil! This book is classic Maberry and you will not want to miss reading it. Those of you who have already read his other novels are compelled to read this one...those misguided ones who have not yet picked up any of these books, go back and read the first three novels quickly so you can pick up this gem! From what I hear, book five is already coming out!
Skaidon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable, slow in places but ultimately a worthy addition to the Ledger series. Action a-plenty!
MarcusH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Assassin's Code is the 4th book in the Joe Ledger series. Joe Ledger is a former Army Ranger and current agent for the Department of Military Science. As the captain of a special forces unit, Ledger begins this tale by rescuing a group of teenagers from an Iranian jailhouse. After his team accomplishes their mission, he is confronted by an Iranian agent for a task. It appears that there are nuclear bombs planted throughout the Middle East and possibly the United States. Ledger and his unique brand of vigilance are required to hunt down the shadowy figures who plan to create apocalypse and stop the vicious threat.Maberry's writing style is part action, part mystery and part horror. For the most part Assassin's Code is a fast paced ride. I have not read any of the previous Ledger novels, and there are definitely references to Ledger's other exploits throughout the story. This, however, does not distract from the action, and only makes the reader want to go back for more of this hard-nosed hero and his team of military specialists.
breadnbutter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I haven't read any of the previous Joe Ledger books, but I didn't mind that fact. I dove in head first into this very interesting world without reading too much about it beforehand. I love the idea of a paranormal book with an explanation behind it. Assassin's Code was quite exciting and fast paced, yet sometimes I appreciated the downtime where there weren't chases, evil threats, and macabre scenes. However, I didn't really connect to the main character Joe, and that may be because I did not read the preceding novels in this series. There was some back story included, but it was sparse and didn't explain much even for me who usually can read between the lines rather well. I will say that Assassin's Code did make me want to take a look at the first novel in the series, Patient Zero, which includes my favorite scary monsters; ZOMBIES!
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As always, Joe Ledger is the supreme badass: when he is approached by the Iranian government to help them find nuclear weapons, he never suspected that vampires and the Crusades would be involved.Like other Joe Ledger novels, Maberry takes a fantastic idea - vampires, this time - and roots it in the real world, or with it-could-likely-happen science. Joe, his teammates and his creepy boss, Mr. Church, race to discover the truth behind a centuries-old conspiracy, as Joe fights for his life in the most intense and violent fight-scenes so far. An awesome thrill ride not to be missed!Highly recommended for those who like smart-assed good guys, pure evil baddies and lots of blood in their hand-to-hand fight scenes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great stories that grab you from the start and won't let go untill it's over
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like this authors other books then you will love this one. Super bad guys.
jlgc More than 1 year ago
Assassin’s Code is one of the full length novels in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry. Joe and his team are sent to Iran to rescue some hostages. Everyone makes it out except Joe. While waiting for his ride out of town, he is contacted by an enemy combatant and given a damaged USB drive. He is also attacked in his hotel room…by a person with super human strength. Fortunately, he appears to have acquired a guardian angel who takes out the intruder. Joe is then on the run, the supposed safe houses are no longer safe. He is also being pursued by another group of people, people who think they are vampire hunters and the Joe is a vampire. Silly people. The USB is analyzed and it is found that there are nuclear bombs that have been hidden away in very specific spots that are intended to cause mass chaos across the world. A master mind from previous Ledger novels makes an appearance here. He is working with several different groups of people causing his own chaos by pitting them against each other. This is a fast, non-stop action story. There is a lot going on in it but it is not difficult to follow. I enjoy the Joe Ledger stories very much and think you will too if you like military adventure, monsters, science fiction, and lots of action and explosions. If you haven’t read a Joe Ledger novel, you could go back to the first, Patient Zero. It explains the DMS. Or, you can jump right into this story and catch up with the others at a later time.
debfromphilly More than 1 year ago
My husband loved this series!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Zombies, and Terrorist and Vampires oh my!  The fourth installment in the Joe Ledger series picks up follows the same template as the three before it but with a new twisted set of challenges.  If you’re a fan of intense action, unique characters and a giant smart ass as your main character, then dive right into “Assassins Code” and enjoy the ride.
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This is the best Joe Ledger book besides Patient Zero. The story is very exciting and i love how characters from others stories show up expands more on their background. Joe Ledger is an awesome action character kind of like jason bourne, james bond and captain American all rolled into one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago