National security, terrorism, and human rights–these explosive issues lie at the heart of Stephen Frey’s riveting new thriller, a high-octane novel of suspense, revenge, and intrigue.
Dynamic chief financial officer Michael Rose is looking to add an exciting and profitable new dimension to energy conglomerate Trafalgar Industries via the major acquisition of CIS, a global information technology company. But it’s far from a done deal, thanks to fierce resistance from CIS, and from certain members of Trafalgar’s own board, to Rose’s takeover proposal. But Rose isn’t about to sacrifice his best shot at the score that could land him in the CEO’s chair. While swiftly scaling the corporate ladder, Rose has played the big business power game expertly enough to know he has the moves to outmaneuver the opposition. But what Rose doesn’t know is the truth about his latest adversaries at CIS–that they are linked to an organization hell-bent on a twisted mission and are lethal to anyone who stands in their way.
The Order, an ultra-secret shadow government agency, was founded by high-level administration officials in reaction to the assassination of President Lincoln. Nearly 150 years later, the group was galvanized anew by the worst act of terror ever perpetrated on American soil–and pushed to dangerous extremes by the specter of fear . . . and the taste of power. The Order had always been sanctioned to manage national security at all costs, by any and all means, without consequences. But behind the sleek veneer of CIS Technologies, the fourth and newest incarnation of The Order not only maintains the ultimate nationwide surveillance and intelligence-gathering system, but conducts officially licensed covert operations rife with torture and murder–all in the name of freedom. The mission cannot and will not be jeopardized, even if innocent lives must be sacrificed. Unfortunately Michael Rose doesn’t yet realize that his hardball tactics have made him the Order’s number one hard target, and his penchant for playing to win has brought him unwittingly into a deadly duel with an enemy more powerful than he can imagine. In a world where the rule is kill or be killed, Rose’s rep for sealing deals might just seal his fate.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Stephen Frey is a managing director at a private equity firm. He previously worked in mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan and as a vice president of corporate finance at an international bank in Manhattan. Frey is the bestselling author of The Successor, The Power Broker, The Protégé, The Chairman, Shadow Account, Silent Partner, The Day Trader, Trust Fund, The Insider, The Legacy, The Inner Sanctum, The Vulture Fund, and The Takeover. He lives in Florida.
Read an Excerpt
“My God,” Michael Rose murmured. He’d been off in another world, thinking about that day five years past when he and Sheila had been arrested at Dulles airport. Thinking about how deeply it had affected his life, how it had shaken his faith in his government. How it had taken a year to get to the truth behind what had happened. “Amazing.”
David Cortez glanced up, following his boss’s line of sight. Cortez had been about to pick up his beer off the smooth, dark-wood bar but stopped with the chilled glass halfway to his lips. “Jesus,” he said softly with a hint of a Cuban accent.
Rose tried not to stare, but he couldn’t help himself. He’d spent an entire career keeping his nose an inch from the grindstone, doing the right thing, shunning the temptations that were constantly swirling around him as he climbed higher and higher on Trafalgar’s corporate ladder. Now, in an instant, this. “She’s perfect.”
“Yeah, she is,” Cortez agreed.
The young woman sat on a tall stool on the other side of the bar, a glass of champagne on the napkin in front of her. She was keeping two young professionals in sharp suits and bright ties occupied without even trying. Both of them were doing everything but juggling to get her attention, but she was playing them off against each other beautifully. Touching their arms lightly, smiling at them demurely with her full, glossy lips. It was an incredible smile. She was an incredible woman.
“I need to meet her.”
Cortez turned toward Rose. “Easy, Mike,” he warned. They’d worked together since Rose had been promoted to chief financial officer, and they’d gotten very close after a lot of late nights at the office. After a lot of Chinese takeout, a lot of black coffee, a lot of good-nights to the kids over the phone. And a lot of guilt. More than anyone else, Cortez knew how vulnerable Rose was right now. “We’re almost to the finish line, we’ve gotta stay focused.”
But Rose kept staring. Mid to late twenties, he guessed. Old enough to be worldly, young enough to be impressionable. Not from or with money, either. From where he sat, that engagement diamond on her left hand looked like a microchip—less than a third of a carat, probably closer to a quarter—and her low-cut blouse was straight off a rounder rack at Sears. He watched as the man who he assumed was her husband cut aggressively between the two professionals and kissed her. Watched her react with a kiss of familiarity. A kiss devoid of passion. Watched the two suitors fade into the crowd, disappointment etched into their expressions. Then felt disappointment sink into his own chest. Which was surprising, and frightening, for several reasons.
“Yeah,” Rose agreed quietly. He’d heard about this happening, everyone had—the lightning bolt—he’d just never thought it could strike him. Especially now when he was on the lookout for it. “I guess you’re right.”
Then it happened: They caught each other’s gaze, and it momentarily paralyzed him. Her eyes were like lasers cutting through the cigar smoke, low light, and noise. Sparkling beams the color of Caribbean water on a postcard locking onto him and not letting him go, blacking out everything else around them. Rose was the number two executive at Trafalgar Industries, chief financial officer of one of the biggest companies in the world, a corporate superstar at forty-three. But suddenly he felt like an awkward, pimply kid at a high school dance. She was even more attractive than he’d first thought, and not just physically. She had a startling genuineness about her that shone through the potent sexuality. It was a one-two combination he’d never encountered, and he was back on his heels. God, what a risk this would be.
Cortez touched Rose’s arm. “Mike.”
Rose put his elbows on the bar, covered his face with his hands and rubbed his forehead with his fingertips, wondering where Sheila was. When he’d called home an hour ago, the au pair had told him that his wife had left the house at noon but hadn’t been back or called since. He checked his watch: eight o’clock. Maybe it was finally time to hire a private detective.
“Yeah, yeah.” Rose glanced across the bar, but the young woman and her husband were gone, presumably headed into the adjoining Morton’s Restaurant, one of the best steak houses in northern Virginia. He looked over at Cortez. “You committed to this acquisition, David? You committed to getting CIS?”
“A hundred percent?”
Rose nodded encouragingly, trying to shake the image of the woman from his mind. But that was impossible.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There were a few great moments in this book, but they were few and far between. Unrealistic and unlikeable characters with a predictable plot. There were interesting contemporary issues explored, i.e., domestic spying, terrorism, torture etc., but the plot was choppy and sometimes downright boring. And most of all, don't give me a protagonist that I hate from the first page -- he works late, engages in relationship with not-so-sweet young thing the day after his wife is killed in auto accident -- and never seems to think twice about his two children who are left alone grieving their mother's death through the entire book! Made me almost wish HE died in the end! On a positive note--the reader, Holter Graham, is the best! In fact, his reading of the last book I listened to (The Husband by Dean Koontz) was what brought me to this book.
OK story, but very complex, a bit far fetched,usual story, 2 groups are fighting each other, and some kind of middle man is being manipulating by the 2 groups to make their own interest win.nothing really new. I simply enjoy it as a thriller
A secret society headed by a US president is acting as a covert arm of the government, kidnapping and torturing innocent citizens in the name of 'national security.' The hero is a guy who's more interested in sealing the deal for a corporate acquisition than comforting his kids the day after his wife is killed in a car accident. He'd rather call his latest pick-up than stay home with his son who has withdrawn into a world of video gaming, or his daughter who is grieving for her mother while she suspects her father is playing around with another woman. He loves to put his 16 year old daughter on his lap to demonstrate just how much he really loves her -- which is a lot more than his withdrawn son. That's only a few of the creepy things about this guy. This is a book that a good editor should have killed before it ever saw the light of day. What's worse, it's not even written well. It's slow moving, and every time it gets mildly interesting, the action is shifts and any tension or momentum is lost. It starts slow and gets slower, never developing any tension. If you have to read tripe like this, it should at least be a 'fast read.' I've never wanted to write a review of a book before, but if I can save one person from wasting good money on this trash, I'll consider myself a good citizen. Not recommended for anyone.
The Fourth Order Stephen Frey Ballantine, May 29 2007, $24.95 ISBN 0345480643 Virginia based Trafalgar Industries CFO Michael Rose strongly believes that his energy firm needs to diversify into other sectors. His target is Computer Information Systems, which he feels if successful will lead him to being the CEO at Trafalgar. He expected some opposition from within especially those who loathe him and the few who actually think it is a mistake to acquire anything outside the core mission. However, Michael is stunned with the hostile violent reaction of the CIS board. Michael does not have the need to know who the prime customer of CIS is since 9/11 as this seemingly successful firm provides top secret assistance to the agents working at a deeply hidden federal program, I-4 (Immunity at the Fourth Order). I-4 known within as the Order detains, renditions, and tortures suspected terrorists and anyone linked even nebulously to terrorist groups American citizens are not immune from this top secret Order who do not bother with obtaining permission from the courts. Rose soon finds his personal life in shambles when the police consider him the prime suspect in his cheating wife¿s murder the Order does not mind collateral damage even if the innocent die. --- This is an exciting conspiracy thriller, but leave your plausibly check outside as several key events especially the Order¿s plan and history seems stretched to the point of almost breaking the plot. Still the story line is fast-paced as Michael who plays hardball in business and in his personal life soon finds who is the major leagues as he is framed in several ways (not just with his wife¿s murder). Stephen Frey provides an entertaining tale that his fans will enjoy. --- Harriet Klausner