Robert Ludlum's The Hades Factor (Covert One Novel)

 
9780007101672: Robert Ludlum's The Hades Factor (Covert One Novel)

Two bestselling authors collaborate to spin a deadly tale of science, espionage and government gone fatally wrong.

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 in a US government laboratory has been frantically trying to unlock the virus’s secrets.

Lt. Col. Jonathan ‘Jon’ Smith, a leading researcher from the lab, barely survives a series of well-orchestrated attempts made on his life. When he discovers that the virus has claimed its fourth victim, his fiancée, he is devastated and enraged. Smith quickly uncovers evidence that his lover’s death was no accident. But wherever he turns, some unseen force blocks 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 future of the world lies in the balance.

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Review:

With an unbroken string of bestsellers dating from the early 70s (beginning with 1971's The Scarlatti Inheritance) and over 200 million books sold, Robert Ludlum is an acknowledged superstar of the political thriller. Gayle Lynds, who was compared to Ludlum after her 1996 debut, Masquerade, has two successful novels and a slew of pseudonymous pulp fiction titles to her credit. Together--after a fashion--they serve up book one of Ludlum's new Covert-One series of trade paperback originals, Robert Ludlum's the Hades Factor.

After three disparate Americans succumb to a hitherto unknown Ebola-like virus, the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) is pressed into service. Since the USAMRIID's top doctor (and former military intelligence operative) Lt. Col. Jon Smith has yet to return from an overseas conference, the job of heading the medical research team falls to Smith's colleague and fiancée, Dr Sophia Russell.

Upon Smith's return, he is sequentially treated to a life-or-death warning from a childhood friend (and rogue FBI agent), several nasty near-death experiences and the viscerally graphic demise of his wife-to-be, an apparent virus victim. Enraged and bereaved, Smith flies into action only to discover doctored files, expunged records, and the distinct likelihood that he's dealing with cases of murder-by-virus. As more questions are asked, more deaths occur, official channels slam shut and Smith finds himself a wanted man, battling his best friend, an evil-genius gazillionaire scientist, corrupt politicians and Third World terrorists. In other words, it's Smith versus all the usual suspects.

Ludlum and Lynds cover no new ground here. In fact, The Hades Factor owes as much to Tom Clancy's Op-Centre series and Richard Preston's The Hot Zone as it does to Ludlum's own considerable body of work. That said, The Hades Factor still delivers a respectable level of intrigue and suspense, will likely be snapped up by output-starved Ludlum fanciers and will be right at home on the bedside tables of Preston fans. --Michael Hudson

Review:

‘The new team has a pop hit on their hands that should bounce right up the bestseller lists.’
Kirkus Reviews

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Ludlum, Robert & Lynds, Gayle
Published by 2001-03-19. (2001)
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