Father Daniel Addison--Harry's younger brother, a priest in the Vatican
and private secretary to Cardinal Marsciano
Nursing sister Elena Voso
Hercules, a dwarf
Giacomo Pecci, Pope Leo XIV
The pope's Uomini di fiducia, "Men of trust"
Cardinal Umberto Palestrina
Cardinal Nicola Marsciano
Cardinal Joseph Matadi
Monsignor Fabio Capizzi
Cardinal Rosario Parma
Father Bardoni, an aide to Cardinal Marsciano
The Vatican Police
Jacov Farel, head of the Vatican Police
The Italian Police
Homicide Detective Otello Roscani
Homicide Detective Gianni Pio
Homicide Detective Scala
Homicide Detective Castelletti
Gruppo Cardinale--The special task force set up by decree of the
Italian Ministry of the Interior to investigate the murder of
the cardinal vicar of Rome
Marcello Taglia, Gruppo Cardinale Chief Prosecutor
Li Wen, a state water-quality inspector
Chen Yin, a merchant of cut flowers
Yan Yeh, president of the People's Bank of China
Jiang Youmei, Chinese ambassador to Italy
Zhou Yi, Jiang's foreign minister
Wu Xian, general secretary of the Communist Party
Thomas Jose Alvarez-Rios Kind, international terrorist
Adrianna Hall, World News Network correspondent
James Eaton, first secretary to the counselor for Political Affairs,
United States Embassy, Rome
Pierre Weggen, Swiss investment banker
Miguel Valera, a Spanish communist
Los Angeles. Thursday, July 2, 9:00 P.M..
THE VOICE ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE
resonated with fear.
"Harry it's your brother, Danny.... I...don't mean to call you like
this...after so much time.... But...there's...no one else I can talk
to.... I'm scared, Harry.... I don't know what to do...or...what
will happen next. God help me. If you're there, please pick up--Harry are
you there?--I guess not.... I'll try to call you back."
Harry Addison hung up the car phone, kept his hand on it, then
picked it up again and pushed REDIAL. He heard the digital tones as the
numbers redialed automatically. Then there was silence, and then the
measured "buzz, buzz," "buzz, buzz" of the Italian phone system as the
call rang through.
"Come on, Danny, answer..."
After the twelfth ring Harry set the receiver back in its cradle and
looked off, the lights of oncoming traffic dancing over his face, making
him lose track of where he was--in a limousine with his driver on a race to
the airport to make the ten-o'clock red-eye to New York.
It was nine at night in L.A., six in the morning in Rome. Where
would a priest be at six in the morning? An early mass? Maybe that's
where he was and why he wasn't answering.
"Harry, it's your brother, Danny.... I'm scared.... I don't know
what to do.... God help me."
"Jesus Christ." Harry felt helplessness and panic at the same time.
Not a word or a note between them in years, and then there was
Danny's voice on Harry's answering machine, jumping out suddenly
among a string of others. And not just a voice, but someone in grave
Harry had heard a rustling as though Danny was starting to hang
up, but then he had come back on the line and left his phone number,
asking Harry to please call if he got in soon. For Harry, soon was
moments ago, when he'd picked up the calls from his home machine.
But Danny's call had come two hours earlier, at a little after seven California
time, just after four in the morning in Rome--what the hell
had soon meant to him at that time of day?
Picking up the phone again, Harry dialed his law office in Beverly
Hills. There had been an important partners' meeting. People might
still be there.
"Joyce, it's Harry. Is Byron--?"
"He just left, Mr. Addison. You want me to try his car?"
Harry heard the static as Byron Willis's secretary tried to connect
with his car phone.
"I'm sorry, he's not picking up. He said something about dinner.
Should I leave word at the house?"
There was a blur of lights, and Harry felt the limo lean as the driver
took the cloverleaf off the Ventura Freeway and accelerated into traffic
on the San Diego, heading south toward LAX. Take it easy, he
thought. Danny could be at mass or at work or out for a walk. Don't
start driving yourself or other people crazy when you don't even know
what's going on.
"No, never mind. I'm on my way to New York. I'll get him in the
Clicking off, Harry hesitated, then tried Rome once more. He
heard the same digital sounds, the same silence, and then the now-familiar
"buzz, buzz," "buzz, buzz" as the phone rang through. There
was still no answer.
Italy. Friday, July 3, 10:20 A.M..
FATHER DANIEL ADDISON DOZED LIGHTLY
in a window seat near the back of the tour bus, his senses purposefully
concentrated on the soft whine of the diesel and hum of the tires as the
coach moved north along the Autostrada toward Assisi.
Dressed in civilian clothes, he had his clerical garments and toiletries
in a small bag on the overhead rack above, his glasses and identification
papers tucked into the inside pocket of the nylon windbreaker
he wore over jeans and a short-sleeved shirt. Father Daniel was thirty-three
and looked like a graduate student, an everyday tourist traveling
alone. Which was what he wanted.
An American priest assigned to the Vatican, he had been living in
Rome for nine years and going to Assisi for almost as long. Birthplace
of the humble priest who became a saint, the ancient town in the
Umbrian hills had given him a sense of cleansing and grace that put
him more in touch with his own spiritual journey than any place he'd
ever been. But now that journey was in shambles, his faith all but
destroyed. Confusion, dread, and fear overrode everything. Keeping
any shred of sanity at all was a major psychological struggle. Still, he
was on the bus and going. But with no idea what he would do or say
when he got there.
In front of him, the twenty or so other passengers chatted or read
or rested as he did, enjoying the cool of the coach's air-conditioning.
Outside, the summer heat shimmered in waves across the rural landscape,
ripening crops, sweetening vineyards, and, little by little, decaying
the few ancient walls and fortresses that still existed here and there
and were visible in the distance as the bus passed.
Letting himself drift, Father Daniel's thoughts went to Harry
and the call he'd left on his answering machine in the hours just
before dawn. He wondered if Harry had even picked up the
message. Or, if he had, if he'd been resentful of it and had not
called back on purpose. It was a chance he had taken. He and
Harry had been estranged since they were teenagers. It had been
eight years since they'd spoken, ten since they'd seen each other.
And that had been only briefly, when they'd gone back to Maine
for the funeral of their mother. Harry had been twenty-six then,
and Danny twenty-three. It was not unreasonable to assume that
by now Harry had written his younger brother off and simply no
longer gave a damn.
But, at that moment, what Harry thought or what had kept them
apart hadn't mattered. All Danny wanted was to hear Harry's voice,
to somehow touch him and to ask for his help. He had made the call
as much out of fear as love, and because there had been nowhere else
to turn. He had become part of a horror from which there was no
return. One that would only grow darker and become more obscene.
And because of it, he knew he might very well die without ever being
with his brother again.
A movement down the aisle in front of him shook him from his
muse. A man was walking toward him. He was in his early forties, clean
shaven, and dressed in a light sport coat and khaki trousers. The man
had gotten on the bus at the last moment, just as it was pulling out of
the terminal in Rome. For a moment Father Daniel thought he might
pass and go into the lavatory behind him. Instead, he stopped at his side.
"You're American, aren't you?" he said with a British accent.
Father Daniel glanced past him. The other passengers were riding
as they had been, looking out, talking, relaxing. The nearest, a half
dozen seats away.
"I thought so." The man grinned broadly. He was pleasant, even
jovial. "My name is Livermore. I'm English if you can't tell. Do you
mind if I sit down?" Without waiting for a reply, he slid into the seat
next to Father Daniel.
"I'm a civil engineer. On vacation. Two weeks in Italy. Next year it's
the States. Never been there before. Been kind of asking Yanks as I
meet them where I should visit." He was talky, even pushy, but pleasant
about it, and that seemed to be his manner. "Mind if I ask what
part of the country you're from?"
"--Maine..." Something was wrong, but Father Daniel wasn't
sure what it was.
"That would be up the map a bit from New York, yes?"
"Quite a bit..." Again Father Daniel looked toward the front of
the bus. Passengers the same as before. Busy with what they were
doing. None looking back. His eyes came back to Livermore in time to
see him glance at the emergency exit in the seat in front of them.
"You live in Rome?" Livermore smiled amiably.
Why had he looked at the emergency exit? What was that for? "You
asked if I was American. Why would you think I lived in Rome?"
"I've been there off and on. You look familiar, that's all." Livermore's
right hand was in his lap, but his left was out of sight. "What do you do?"
The conversation was innocent, but it wasn't. "I'm a writer..."
"What do you write?"
"For American television..."
"No, you don't." Abruptly Livermore's demeanor changed. His
eyes hardened, and he leaned in, pressing against Father Daniel.
"You're a priest."
"I said you're a priest. You work at the Vatican. For Cardinal
Father Daniel stared at him. "Who are you?"
Livermore's left hand came up. A small automatic in it. A silencer
squirreled to the barrel. "Your executioner."
At the same instant a digital timer beneath the bus clicked to
00:00. A split second later there was a thundering explosion. Livermore
vanished. Windows blew out. Seats and bodies flew. A scything
piece of razor-sharp steel decapitated the driver, sending the bus
careening right, crushing a white Ford against the guardrail. Bouncing
off it, the bus came crashing back through traffic, a screaming,
whirling, twenty-ton fireball of burning steel and rubber. A motorcycle
rider disappeared under its wheels. Then it clipped the rear of a big-rig
truck and spun sideways. Slamming into a silver-gray Lancia, the bus
carried it full force through the center divider, throwing it directly into
the path of an oncoming gasoline tanker.
Reacting violently, the tanker driver jammed on his brakes, jerking
the wheel right. Wheels locked, tires shrieking, the enormous truck slid
forward and sideways, at the same time knocking the Lancia off the bus
like a billiard ball and sending the burning coach plunging off the highway
and down a steep hill. Tilting up on two wheels, it held for a second,
then rolled over, ejecting the bodies of its passengers, many of them dismembered
and on fire, across the summer landscape. Fifty yards later it
came to a rest, igniting the dry grass in a crackling rush around it.
Seconds afterward its fuel tank exploded, sending flame and smoke
roaring heavenward in a fire storm that raged until there was nothing
left but a molten, burned-out shell and a small, insignificant wisp of
Delta Airlines flight 148, New York to Rome.
Monday, July 6, 7:30 A.M..
DANNY WAS DEAD, AND HARRY WAS ON HIS
way to Rome to bring his body back to the U.S. for burial. The last
hour, like most of the flight, had been a dream. Harry had seen the
morning sun touch the Alps. Seen it glint off the Tyrrhenian Sea as
they'd turned, dropping down over the Italian farmland on approach
to Rome's Leonardo da Vinci International Airport at Fiumicino.
"Harry, it's your brother, Danny.... "
All he could hear was Danny's voice on the answering machine. It
played over and over in his mind, like a tape on a loop. Fearful, distraught,
and now silent.
"Harry, it's your brother, Danny.... "
Waving off a pour of coffee from a smiling and pert flight attendant,
Harry leaned back against the plush seat of the first-class cabin
and closed his eyes, replaying what had happened in between.
He'd tried to call Danny twice more from the plane. And then
again when he checked into his hotel. Still, there had been no answer.
His apprehension growing, he'd called the Vatican directly, hoping to
find Danny at work, and what he'd learned, after being passed from
one department to another and being spoken to in broken English and
then Italian and then a combination of both, was that Father Daniel
was "not here until Monday."
To Harry that had meant he was away for the weekend. And no
matter his mental state, it was a legitimate reason why Danny was not
answering his phone. In response, Harry had left a message on his
answering machine at home, giving his hotel number in New York in
the event Danny called back as he said he would.
And then Harry had turned, with some sense of relief, to business
as usual and to why he had gone to New York--a last-minute huddle
with Warner Brothers distribution and marketing chiefs over this
Fourth of July weekend's opening of Dog on the Moon, Warner's major
summer release, the story of a dog taken to the moon in a NASA
experiment and accidentally left there, and the Little League team that
learns about it and finds a way to bring him back; a film written and
directed by Harry's twenty-four-year-old client Jesus Arroyo.
Single and handsome enough to be a movie star, Harry Addison
was not only one of the entertainment community's most eligible
bachelors, he was also one of its most successful attorneys. His firm
represented the cream of multimillion-dollar Hollywood talent. His
own list of clients had either starred in or were responsible for some of
the highest-grossing movies and successful television shows of the past
five years. His friends were household names, the same people who
stared weekly from the covers of national magazines.
His success--as the daily Hollywood trade paper Variety had
recently put it--was due to "a combination of smarts, hard work, and
a temperament markedly different from the savagely competitive
young warrior agents and attorneys to whom the `deal' is everything
and whose only disposition is `take no prisoners.' With his Ivy League
haircut and trademark white shirt and dark blue Armani suit, the
Harry Addison approach is that the most beneficial thing for everyone
is to cause as little all-around bleeding as possible. It's why his deals go
through, his clients love him, the studios and networks respect him,
and why he makes a million dollars a year."
Dammit, what did any of that mean now? His brother's death overshadowed
everything. All he could think of was what he might have done
to help Danny that he hadn't. Call the U.S. Embassy or the Rome police
and send them to his apartment. Apartment? He didn't even know where
Danny lived. That was why he had started to call Byron Willis, his boss
and mentor and best friend, from the limo when he'd first heard his
brother's message. Who did they know in Rome who could help? was
what he had intended to ask but hadn't because the call had never gone
through. If he had, and if they had found someone in Rome, would
Danny still be alive? The answer was probably no because there wouldn't
have been time.
Over the years how many times had he tried to communicate with
Danny? Christmas and birthday cards formally exchanged for a short
while after their mother's death. Then one holiday missed, then
another. Finally nothing at all. And busy with his life and career, Harry
had let it ride, eventually accepting it as the way it was. Brothers at
opposites. Angry, at times even hostile, living a world apart, as they
always would. With both probably wondering during the odd quiet
moment if he should be the one to take the initiative and find a way to
bring them back together. But neither had.
And then Saturday evening as he'd been in the Warners New York
offices celebrating the huge numbers Dog on the Moon was
realizing--nineteen million dollars with Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday
still to come, making a projected weekend gross of thirty-eight to
forty-two million--Byron Willis had called from Los Angeles. The
Catholic archdiocese had been trying to reach Harry and was reluctant
to leave word at his hotel. They'd traced Willis through Harry's office,
and Byron himself had chosen to make the call. Danny was dead, he'd
said quietly, killed in what appeared to be a terrorist bombing of a tour
bus on the way to Assisi.
In the emotional gyration immediately afterward, Harry canceled
his plans to return to L.A. and booked himself on a Sunday-evening
flight to Italy. He would go there and bring Danny home personally. It
was the last and only thing he could do.
Then, on Sunday morning, he'd contacted the State Department,
requesting the U.S. Embassy in Rome arrange a meeting between
himself and the people investigating the bombing of the bus. Danny
had been frightened and distraught; maybe what he had said might
help shed some light on what had happened and who had been
responsible. Afterward, and for the first time in as long as Harry could
remember, he had gone to church. And prayed and wept.
BENEATH HIM, HARRY HEARD the sound of the landing
gear being lowered. Looking out, he saw the runway come up and
the Italian countryside fly past. Open fields, drainage ditches, more
open fields. Then there was a bump and they were down. Slowing,
turning, taxiing back toward the long, low sunlit buildings of Aeroporto
Leonardo da Vinci.
THE UNIFORMED WOMAN behind the glass at Passport
Control asked him to wait and picked up the telephone. Harry saw
himself reflected in the glass as he waited. He was still in his dark blue
Armani suit and white shirt, the way he was described in the Variety
article. There was another suit and shirt in his suitcase, along with a
light sweater, workout gear, polo shirt, jeans, and running shoes. The
same bag he had packed for New York.
The woman hung up and looked at him. A moment later two
policemen with Uzi submachine guns slung over their shoulders
walked up to her. One stepped into the booth and looked at his passport,
then glanced at Harry and motioned him through.
"Would you come with us, please?"
As they walked off, Harry saw the first policeman ease the Uzi
around, his right hand sliding to its grip. Immediately two more uniformed
police moved in to walk with them as they crossed the terminal.
Passengers moved aside quickly, then turned to look back when
they were safely out of the way.
At the far side of the terminal they stopped at a security door. One
of the policeman punched a code into a chrome keypad. A buzzer
sounded, and the man opened the door. Then they went up a flight of
stairs and turned down a corridor. A moment later they stopped at
another door. The first policeman knocked, and they entered a windowless
room where two men in suits waited. Harry's passport was
handed to one of them, and the uniforms left, closing the door behind
"You are Harry Addison--"
"The brother of the Vatican priest Father Daniel Addison."
Harry nodded. "Thank you for meeting me..."
The man who held his passport was probably forty-five, tall and
tanned, and very fit. He wore a blue suit, over a lighter blue shirt with
a carefully knotted maroon tie. His English was accented but understandable.
The other man was a little older and almost as tall but with
a slighter build and salt-and-pepper hair. His shirt was checkered. His
suit, a light brown, the same as his tie.
"I am Ispettore Capo Otello Roscani, Polizia di Stato. This is Ispettore
"How do you do..."
"Why have you come to Italy, Mr. Addison?"
Harry was puzzled. They knew why he was there or they wouldn't
have met him as they had. "--To bring my brother's body home....
And to talk with you people."
"When had you planned to come to Rome?"
"I hadn't planned to come at all..."
"Answer the question, please."
"Before? No, of course not."
"You made the reservations yourself?" Pio spoke for the first time.
His English had almost no accent at all, as if he were either American
himself or had spent a lot of time in the U.S.
"Saturday night. I told you that." Harry looked from one to the
other. "I don't understand your questions. You knew I was coming. I
asked the U.S. Embassy to arrange for me to talk to you."
Roscani slid Harry's passport into his pocket. "We are going to ask
you to accompany us into Rome, Mr. Addison."
"Why?--We can talk right here. There's not that much to tell."
Suddenly Harry could feel sweat on his palms. They were leaving
something out. What was it?
"Perhaps you should let us decide, Mr. Addison."
Again, Harry looked from one to the other. "What's going on?
What is it you're not telling me?"
"We simply wish to talk further, Mr. Addison."
"The assassination of the cardinal vicar of Rome."