Robert LUDLUM: a Covert One novel – "The Moscow Vector"

If geography’s not your strong point – and it’s never been mine – you may want a current atlas or Google maps handy. When Russia meant the U.S.S.R. it was easy – since Russia lost all its state republics to independence, I found myself wishing I could check to verify details. Not that my failing distracted me from becoming as absorbed in this Covert One novel as with the Lazarus Vendetta.

The premise of the novel is the removal of significant western oriented agents and officials by a mysterious and rapidly acting fatal illness, based on a genetically tweaked smallpox bacteria, each vial produced being “personalised” to attack a specific individual, not viable within anyone else (ie, no pandemic of the dreaded disease). Throughout the plot’s progress, more and more persons of political significance die.

Lt Col John Smith – the US President’s Covert One project’s leader – is sent to eastern Europe to follow up reports of disappearing people, files, and money from the countries formerly part of the USSR. As none of the former “Russian” nations trust the new Russia or each other, there is a delay in information sharing between intelligence services. As in the better crime drama works, the bad guys don’t trust each other either.

While no one notices – or those who do are too complacent or deluded to take decisive action, Russian armed forces move to the borders to invade and take back the nations once part of USSR, relying on the lack of diligent or competent of intelligence gathering as the agents are in short supply, so to speak.

Intricate plot, precision characters, tightly meshed action, and a great finale and denouement.  Patrick Larken co-wrote the Moscow Vector.
Where’s another Covert One novel, quick!

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