For the past three decades Robert Ludlum’s bestselling novels have been enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers worldwide and have set the standard against which all other thrillers are measured. His Covert-One series has been among his most beloved creations. Now comes the latest thrilling novel in the series:
Robert Ludlum’s The Moscow Vector
At an international conference in Prague, Lt. Col. Jon Smith, an Army research doctor specializing in infectious diseases and secretly an agent attached to Covert-One, is contacted by a Russian colleague, Dr. Valentine Petrenko. Petrenko is concerned about a small cluster of mysterious deaths in Moscow and about the Russian government’s refusal to release publicly any information or data on the outbreak. When the two meet, they are attacked by a group of mysterious men and Petrenko is killed. His notes and medical samples are lost, and Smith barely escapes with his life.
At the same time, a series of government officials around the world are coming down with a mysterious, fast-acting virus with a 100% fatality rate. These deaths are somehow related to the increasing militarism from the new Russian government, headed by the autocratic and ambitious President Victor Dudarev. With few clues and precious little time, Smith and Covert-One must unravel this mysterious plot and find the mysterious figure who stands at the center of it all.
One might think that time would have taken its toll on the crusty, disgruntled Soviet dinosaurs who want to return Russia to its Communist glory days, but evidently not. Larkin, helming Ludlum's Covert One series, has dreamed up a new bunch of hard-liners, armed with HYDRA, a designer poison that singles out and kills victims based on DNA. With HYDRA having dispatched numerous U.S. and allied intelligence agents, Russian President Viktor Dudarev is poised to launch Operation ZHUKOV, a takeover strike against Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and half of Ukraine. Leading a covert investigation of HYDRA is series regular Lt. Col. Jonathan Smith, U.S. Army molecular biologist and chief operative of supersecret spy agency Covert One. There's nothing particularly new HYDRA is an unwieldy weapon (it must be tailor-made for each victim), and super-sleuth Jon spends far too much time ferreting out information that readers have known for hundreds of pages. The threat of a Russian takeover of lost territory may not raise the temperature high enough, and various subplots, such as an attempted assassination of the U.S. president, don't amount to much. There are plenty of excellent shoot-outs, but Larkin's last outing, The Lazarus Vendetta, was far more cutting edge. (On sale Aug. 1)