Robert Ludlum has been acclaimed as the master of .suspense and international intrigue. His many books have thrilled millions of readers, reaching the top of bestsellers lists the world over and setting a standard that has never been surpassed. Now, from the imagination of one of America's greatest storytellers comes Robert Ludlum's The Hades Factor--a thrilling new entry in the Covert-One series.
A homeless man in Boston, an Army Major in California, and a teenage girl in Atlanta all die suddenly and painfully--each a victim of an unknown doomsday virus. For three days, a team of scientists is a U.S. government laboratory has been frantically trying to unlock the virus's secrets. When the leading researcher from that lab, Lt. Col. Jonathan Smith, returns from overseas, he barely survives a series of well-orchestrated attempts made on his life. By the time Smith eludes his pursuers and makes it home, he discovers that the virus has claimed its fourth victim, Dr. Sophia Russell--Smith's fiancee. Devastated and enraged, Smith quickly uncovers evidence that his lover's death was no accident--that someone out there has the virus, and the pandemic that threatens hundreds of millions of lives is no accident. But wherever he turns, Smith finds that some unseen force has blocked his quest for information.
Not knowing whom to trust, Smith assembles a private team to search for the truth behind the deadly virus. While the death toll mounts, their quest leads to the highest levels of power and the darkest corners of the earth, as they match wits with a determined genius--and as the fate of the world lies in the balance.
In his first book since 1997's The Matarese Countdown, onetime thriller superstar Ludlum teams up with Lynds (Masquerade; Mosaic) for a lackluster trade paperback original, the first volume in a Tom Clancy-like series called "Covert-One." The novel stars ace doctor (and former military spook) Lt. Col. Jonathan Smith, who now works for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md. We first meet Dr. Smith in London, where a childhood friend and rogue FBI agent warns him not to get involved in USAMRIID's latest investigation; the institute is looking into the baffling deaths from an unknown killer virus of three people in three widely separated states. But Smith's colleague and wife-to-be, Dr. Sophia Russell, is already trying to link the virus with a mysterious disease that decimated the Monkey Blood tribe she had worked with during her student days in Peru. What she doesn't know is that the slickly evil scientist who investigated the virus then is now the head of a giant chemical company with links to Third World terrorism. When Russell herself falls victim to the virus early on, Smith must forge ahead with the assistance of her sister, Randi, a CIA agent in Baghdad. Ludlum and Lynds keep things moving at a capable pace, but the familiar plot and uninspired writing (Smith "wore his restlessness like another man wore his skin") do little to foment interest in future installments on the series.