In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease … a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.
The Chinese government says the rumors aren’t true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.
At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It’s a weapons test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person’s genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing “Replication”—a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.
Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation’s top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected … something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined.
The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare.
“A gripping, frighteningly plausible techno-thriller…Nelson’s intriguing scientific predictions and distinctive near-future setting make this sure to please speculative fiction readers as well as thriller fans.”—Publishers Weekly
“An all-too-plausible examination of how emerging technologies could be weaponized to horrible ends. I don’t recommend reading this one right before bedtime—unless you are prepared to stay up very, very late to finish it.”—Lisa Brackmann, New York Times bestselling author
“A head-spinning sci-fi-infused military thriller, with China and the United States putting everything they have into developing the perfect weapon, no matter the cost. ”—Francisco Toro, columnist, Washington Post
“The danger is unique, and the treachery vast, in this rapid-paced adventure that delivers in equal doses of amazing, yet possible. An intriguing tale that will leave you thinking. ”—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author
“A compelling thriller…Nelson’s riveting narrative captures the drama of great power competition…This is a terrific debut.”—Patrick Duddy, Duke University, former US Ambassador to Venezuela
“An amazing read. The Last Sword Maker has everything”—Moisés Naím, New York Times bestselling author
“A terrifying vision of future warfare in the vein of Tom Clancy’s and Michael Crichton’s novels…A powerhouse near-future thriller with explosive action and exciting science.”—Foreword Reviews
Nelson (The Silence and the Scorpion: The Coup Against Ch vez and the Making of Modern Venezuela) makes his fiction debut with a gripping, frighteningly plausible techno-thriller, the first in his Course of Empire series. In 2025, when thousands of Tibetans are slaughtered via a genetically-targeted nano-virus developed under brutal Chinese general Meng Longwei, Rear Adm. James Curtiss, who has his own history of ruthlessness, is tasked with assembling a best-of-the-best team at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., to win the race to create programmable, living nano-weapons. Months later, after Meng learns of an American breakthrough, he attacks the group and kidnaps three scientists, including Eric Hill, a brilliant graduate student, to reproduce the method at China's Tangshan Military Laboratory. Curtiss must balance the potential rescue of his people against the opportunity to wholly destroy the enemy. Nelson's intriguing scientific predictions and distinctive near-future setting make this sure to please speculative fiction readers as well as thriller fans.