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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Robert LUDLUM: A Covert-One novel – The LAZARUS VENDETTA

An eco-consciousness and anti-globalization group, devolved into an anti-technology group gone underground, the Lazarus Movement shows signs of modifying its scope of activity to strike a bold blow against nano-technology as applied to bio-weaponry.
When their first overt action kills staff within and protesters surrounding a nano-research facility, by releasing a cloud of invisible nanobots,
Covert One (a top-level “need-to-know” security group working only for the US President directly) calls on Lt Col. Jon Smith to uncover the reality behind the Lazarus Movement and its leader Lazarus.

The story is fairly fast-paced, the action scenes tightly written, the explanations of the nano weaponry and its efficacy are clear for even this non-physics one to grasp. The gore of the nanobots’ work within a victim’s body are chilling – easier to read though than it would be to see portrayed on a big screen.

Jon Smith continues his work, losing colleagues and friends on the way, relying on Covert One to provide relief, backup and weaponry he can use. Duplicity and treachery among the usual stalwarts of security work to keep the Lazarus Movement beyond Smith’s reach.

The revelation of the stereotypical delusional, vengeful megalomaniac Lazarus is almost no surprise. The use of traditional military combat techniques to bring the Lazarus Movement to a dead stop is only a small point at which the reader suspends disbelief.

Not usually a fan of the thriller/drama novel as a genre, I was led to it by familiarity with the Bourne trilogy of movies. Ludlum’s Lazarus Vendetta was no disappointment, having me hooked into late night sessions seeking to complete it “a.s.a.p.” Definitely one to pack into a mailer and send to friends.

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