There are rumors that the Nazis have successfully unlocked the secrets of time travel. Now TEC agent Jack Logan must discover the terrifying truth . . .
It's 2007, and the Time Enforcement Commission's every move is being scrutinized by someone in another timefield, someone who's playing hell with the future by planting time bombs in the past. Finding the malevolent enemy is a job for TEC's top copJack Logan.
Logan mounts a quest in which he combats killers, thieves, pirates, slavers, and zealots in a variety of exotic and deadly places, from Nazi torture chambers to Spanish galleons loaded with Inca gold. Until finally he breaks into the Viper's Nest itself and confronts the kingpin of evil: a despot determined that Logan and his partner will never again see the light of dayin any year.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||4.24(w) x 6.91(h) x 0.73(d)|
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Oberkommandeur Helmut von Steuben released the trigger of his Thompson
.45-caliber submachine gun and lowered it, hot and smoking as sudden
silence fell over the ancient, creaking wood-hulled ship. It was not his
favorite weapon, but its noise and its methodical killing power were
awesome attention-getters. All around him, antique Spaniards lay in their
own pooling blood while stain-darkened sails throbbed overhead, swelling
against their sheet lines as a cool, wet wind grew astern, driving the
fogs and the sluggish old ship ahead of it.
There were still dozens of bug-eyed Spanish sailors amidships, at the
main-sheet tackle, and several aloft, clinging to the rigging. Swarming
among them were uniformed SS troopers, armed with deadly repeating rifles.
As the reek of nitro-powder smoke drifted among them, punctuating the
shock and amazement of what they had just seen, von Steuben raised his
voice. "You men!" he shouted in perfect, though accented, Spanish. "This
ship is a prize of war, and you are my prisoners! Obey my commands, to the
letter, and you may live to see another day. Otherwise, you will die as
these before you have died!" To his own men he said, in German, "They are
less than half a crew for a ship this size. Work them until they drop, but
not past recovery. Use whips if necessary, but no boots or clubs. Men
cannot make sail with broken bones."
"How long must they be kept alive, Oberst?" a trooper asked.
"Our destination is east of south, eight hundred kilometers," von Steuben
said. "I intend to reach it within five days."
Four days later, the galleonSanta Ysabela anchored in a deep channel
south of an unnamed island off a tropical coast that would one day be
Venezuela. SS troopers stood guard as the surviving Spaniards emptied her
holds, boatload by boatload, and rowed the cargo ashore. In a hillside
cleft above the tidal range, they made their prisoners dig a pit and bury
the treasure. Then the wretches were herded together and gunned down by
concentrated small-arms fire. Their bodies were thrown into the sea.
Once more aboard the ancient ship, the SS company--with von Steuben
supervising--dutifully cut loose all anchors and used axes to destroy the
rudder and the cable braces.
Good soldiers, von Steuben thought wryly as his subordinates methodically
destroyed the galleon's survival mechanisms. Not even real soldiers, only
SS--and likely a Gestapo spy among them--but they obeyed his every command
They don't even know where we are or how we got here, von Steuben reminded
himself. Yet they salute the Führer, praise the Fatherland, and do exactly
as they are told. Good German soldiers!
When all else was done, he ordered them to destroy the ship's boats, stave
in the water kegs, and wreck the bilge pumps. They hurried away, scurrying
to perform these tasks. Then they formed on deck, awaiting further orders.
But there was no one to give orders. Helmut von Steuben, the commander,
was nowhere to be found. Rudderless, her boats gone, half her sails
loose-set, and all of her sheets sabotaged, Santa Ysabela drifted
southward, away from any charted land, riding the hot winds of equatorial
Krakenfjord, Norway: February 1945
Helmut von Steuben paced the subterranean corridors of Lundsgrofenwerk,
the smallest and most secret of all the Reich's research facilities
outside of Germany. For hours, they had grilled him--the scientists, the
administrators, and even a pair of Himmler's aides. He had given them, in
exquisite detail, his report on experiment nineteen, exactly as he had
They were full of questions, but he--the loyal soldier--had no further
answers. No, he did not know where he had been. It was a place, but in
total darkness and silence, and he had been there for only a few moments
before his retrieval. No, he did not know what had become of the SS
volunteers with him, or even of the Gestapo observer among them. In the
place of darkness, he had seemed to be alone. Possibly the device had not
worked for them.
They questioned him endlessly, but finally they had no choice but to
believe what he said. And, believing, they would put an end to this line
of experimentation and turn their attention elsewhere.
Inside, he was wild with relief, but nothing about him showed it. He had
simply volunteered for an experiment that failed, and he was the lucky
one--the only survivor. He had done his duty as a soldier of the Reich.
Privately, though, von Steuben knew far more than he let on. He had some
idea of the enormous effort that had gone into this undertaking, and he
knew exactly what it was that the scientists--that Himmler himself--had
hoped to accomplish. Next to that head-scratcher Heindl himself, von
Steuben probably knew more about the experiment here than anyone else in
the Reich. He had seen the significance of this thing from the first
moment, and had made it his business to know.
"Heinrich, you have had your grand test," he muttered as he closed the
door on his private quarters. "Make what you will of my report, and puzzle
if you will over what went wrong. You and all your scientists, you told me
nothing of what you tried to do. How can I possibly know that you have
been working on a time machine, when I was told nothing? I was no more
than a guinea pig in this. I might have received the Iron Cross, though
Heindl and the rest of your scientists will be fortunate if they survive
He stripped to the waist, scrubbed his face with cold water, then
stretched out on his cot. They will never know why their machine didn't
work, he thought. Heindl might suspect, but they will never know what I
know--that it did work! Just as its progeny will work again. He gave no
thought to the men he had killed. They would have died soon anyway, of
disease or war.
He took a small, worn wallet from his boot pocket and opened it. Inside
was a fading photograph of a young, dark-eyed woman, standing beside a
Pierce Arrow automobile. In the background was a low, stucco-dressed
building fronted by curved, shadowy arches. Beyond the building, an ornate
church steeple stood against a rising terrain--forest, sweeping high
meadows, and the smoky silhouette of tall mountains.
I will see you soon, Elena, von Steuben told himself. I will come to you,
and you will give me a son--a son to grow up strong and capable. A son
whose hands might grasp the world and crush it in his fist. It is all
there for the taking, Elena. Everything! You will bear a son for me,
Elena, and I will teach him.
Adolf Hitler's insane Reich was toppling, just as the precarious, bizarre
fantasies of madmen always toppled. Once again Germany had tasted glory,
and once again it would know defeat. It did not matter. The future--von
Steuben's future and his unborn son's--lay oceans away.
He would require a ship, and he had one. Swiss registry, an innocuous
cargo, and a carefully selected crew completely ignorant of their real
mission. The commandeered steamship Krofft lay now in Lisbon harbor,
awaiting its claimant. The papers for that vessel were in a safe place,
along with the only complete, unaltered copy of Heindl's notes, equations,
They chose the wrong guinea pig this time, von Steuben told himself wryly.
This time, it is the guinea pig that walks away with all the winnings.