The First Billion

The First Billion

by Christopher Reich
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The First Billion by Christopher Reich

Christopher Reich electrified readers with Numbered Account and The Runner, his first two international thrillers. Now the New York Times bestselling author whose work has been called “gripping” (Chicago Tribune), “chilling” (The Denver Post), “wonderful” (The New York Times Book Review), ratchets up the stakes in an ingeniously plotted story of nerve-jangling intrigue and hot-wired suspense. Using today’s cutthroat global economy as a backdrop, The First Billion explodes into a breakneck tale of betrayal, revenge, and redemption...

John “Jett” Gavallan is a former fighter pilot, now the high-flying CEO of Black Jet Securities, an investment firm that earned its first billion before the techno dream crashed and burned. Poised for an offering crucial to his company’s survival, Gavallan is banking on the riskiest gamble of his dazzling career. In exactly six days, he will take Mercury Broadband, Russia’s leading media company, public on the New York Stock Exchange. But rumors of fraud have suddenly surfaced that could send the deal south. Gavallan makes a preemptive strike by dispatching his number-two man--fellow Desert Storm fighter pilot Grafton Byrnes--to Moscow to penetrate the shadowy Russian multinational. When Byrnes fails to return, Gavallan fears the worst. But the truth is even more diabolical than he can imagine.

Plunging into a desperate search for his best friend, the renegade top gun is suddenly fighting a different kind of war, where there is no safe harbor and no one he can trust. Not Konstantin Kirov, the elusive head of Mercury Broadband who may not be what he seems. Not the bankers and traders Gavallan does business with every day. Not the exotic beauty who has told him all her deepest secrets--except one. Suddenly Jett finds himself trapped in a conspiracy that could shatter the delicate balance between nations--and plunge the global economy into chaos. Hunted by the F.B.I. and a band of elite killers, Jett races from Palm Beach to Zurich to Moscow in a desperate search for answers. But for this brave ex-commando haunted by visions of war, the truth comes at a terrible price. With Mercury rising and the hours ticking down, he is moving closer to a place where murder and revenge are the currency of choice...and where the first billion is the ultimate insider secret--and the deadliest obsession of all.

With breakneck plotting, stunning realism, and a sense of danger that keeps the heart racing, The First Billion is a knockout of a novel that will linger long after the final shocking twist is revealed.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440234692
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/29/2003
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 493,014
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.89(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

Christopher Reich was born in Tokyo and grew up in Los Angeles. He was employed by the Bank of Switzerland where for many years he worked in the bank's private banking department in Geneva before joining the department of mergers and acquisitions in Zurich. In 1995, Reich decided to pursue writing full-time. Numbered Account, a New York Times bestseller, was his first novel. He lives in California with his wife and two daughters.

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First Billion 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
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GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Actor and Audie Award finalist James Daniels gives a riveting performance of this globe spanning story propelled by rapid fire action and dark intrigue. His voice ably conveys toughness, compassion, and regret. He doesn't over-dramatize, allowing Reich's powerful words to carry listeners along. As many know, Reich has earned an enviable reputation as a master of international intrigue. The First Billion, his third book, again mesmerizes with a tale of frightening possibilities. Jett Gavalian is a former fighter pilot, having served in the Gulf War. What he saw there inspired him to begin Black Jet Securities, an international financial consulting firm. He intends to use his profits to help rather than harm, improve the possibilities for life on this planet. Jett made his first billion in jig time, and now he's working on the next by putting Mercury Broadband, a Russian media company, on the New York Stock Exchange. However, he's soon made aware that the company may not be all he believed. Jeff sends his best friend, Grafton Byrnes, to Moscow to look into the situation, which appears murkier by the minute. There's not much time as Mercury Broadband is due to go up in a mere six days, and the future of Black Jet hinges on it. We hear: 'The IPO, or initial public offering, of shares in the company was valued at two billion dollars, and nothing less than his firm's continued existence depended on what he discovered. A green light meant seventy million dollars in fees, a guarantee of fee-related business from Mercury down the road, and a rescue from impending insolvency.' What Grafton finds in Moscow is more terrifying than he or Jett could ever have imagined. Just when we think Reich has pulled out all the stops and couldn't possibly have another trick up his author's sleeve, he galvanizes with the unexpected. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading Reich's first book, Numbered Account. This book, First Billion, has an interesting story that's somewhat plausible given todays corporate environment (Enron, Worldcom...) The story does drag for a bit, but it eventually picks up. I only wish the author would obtain a proof-reader who's familar with military/police operations and equipment. There are MANY TECHNICAL & DESCRIPTIVE ERRORS which detract from the reading enjoyment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read 'Devil's Banker' first and loved it, really well written and exciting but 'The First Billion' was a big step down. Story was very slow in developing, I was bored, and forced myself to complete it, hoping that the climax would be worth the wait. I was wrong. Sorry Christopher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fabulous read! This is the first book in a very long time that my husband and I had to race eachother for whenever it was put down. Interesting, intelligent, good characters. All in all a great romp!!
harstan More than 1 year ago
John ¿Jett¿ Gavallan knows his Black Jet Securities Company has been in trouble since the bottom fell out of the world. Borrowing from his days as a fighter pilot, Jett takes a major chance on a Russian firm Mercury Broadband that he plans to go public via the New York Stock Exchange.

However, an online highly regarded financial analyst, Private Eye-PO, warns people that Mercury Broadband is a bad investment stunning Jett with the revelations. Jett¿s assistant Grafton Byrnes travels incognito to Moscow to uncover the truth while Jett tries to locate Private Eye-PO. Soon Jett heads to Russia to confront Kirov, the CEO of Mercury Broadband, who may be part of the Russian Mafia.

Though not quite on a par with NUMBERED ACCOUNT, THE FIRST BILLION is an interesting financial thriller that is at its best when Jett struggles between ethics and the deal of a lifetime. The latter half of the story line turns into an international chase tale with body counts outgrowing monetary accounts and Jett acting more like John Wayne. Still readers will find this adventure exhilarating but would have preferred that Christopher Reich keep the hero continuing his work on the bottom line of a ledger sheet rather than body bags.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it and couldn't say it better than the New York Times. 'So much fun... There has been no shortage of writers aspiring to be the John Grisham of Wall Street... REICH DESERVES THE GRISHAM MANTLE...(he) conjures up a rich evocative world... deftly splices technical information into his characters' dialogue...and with the fewest words, the author often speaks volumes...' A fast fun read, interesting financial details, finely drawn characters, definately worth reading.