BY DAVID HAGBERG
The Capsule Last Come the Children
Without Honor* Countdown*
Critical Mass* Desert Fire High Flight* Assassin*
Joshua’s Hammer* Eden’s Gate
The Kill Zone* By Dawn’s Early Light Soldier of God* Allah’s Scorpion* Dance with the Dragon* The Expediter*Burned
NONFICTION BY DAVID HAGBERGAND BORIS GINDIN
* Kirk McGarvey adventures
A TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES BOOKNEW YORK Table of Contents Title Copyright Dedication Prologue Part One Six Months Later
Part Two The Following Days
Part Three The Next Day
Part Four That Night
Part Five Thirty-six Hours Later
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations,
and events portrayed in this novel are either products ofthe author’s imagination or are used
Copyright ? 2010 by David Hagberg
All rights reserved.
A Forge Book Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth AvenueNew York, NY 10010
Forge ? is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
First Edition: July 2010
Printed in the United States of America
This book is for Lorrel.
At the end of days in the Roman Empire, foreign influences and lobbyists took
practical control of the government, leaving the senators to do little more than
snipe at each other, much like Washington today.
It was well past midnight when the cab dropped Kirk McGarvey off in front of the Hay-AdamsHotel across Lafayette Square from the White House, and one of the doormen met him. “Goodevening, sir.”
McGarvey, the former director of the CIA, hesitated. He was dead tired. It seemed like monthssince he’d slept last; now in his early fifties, he didn’t bounce back as quickly as he usedto. Yet his mind was alive with a thousand separate possibilities and desperate situations.
He was tall, with the build and moves of a rugby player. His hair was thick, brown but grayingat the sides, and he had a wide honest face that his wife, Kathleen, had always foundattractive, and deep eyes that, depending on his mood, were either green when he was at peacewith the world, or gray when he was in the field and operating at top speed. He had donethings, and seen things, that most people couldn’t know or understand. He had killed people.
And he was just coming off an assignment in which even more people had died at his hands, whichhe felt would never come clean no matter how often he scrubbed them. For a long time now he hadwanted it to end. He had come out of the field into an uneasy retirement that never lasted formore than a few months at a stretch, and he was getting tired of the game.
So far the FBI had been unable to find the forty kilos of polonium-210 that had been smuggledacross the border from Mexico. The news that the situation had been arranged by a high-rankingChinese intelligence officer was never made public, but the fact that the highly radioactivepoison hadn’t shown up anywhere had the White House puzzled. Perhaps it had never existed inthe first place.
And over the past days another Chinese situation had come up when one of their high-rankingofficers had been assassinated in North Korea. A nuclear war had very nearly been touched off,until the blame was traced to a former Russian KGB officer by the name of Alexander Turov,living in Tokyo, with a connection to Howard McCann, who, until Mac’s son-in-law, Todd VanBuren, shot him to death, had been financing the Russian.
The problem was that no one knew where McCann, the CIA’s deputy director of operations, hadgotten the money to finance the polonium or the assassinations.
But McGarvey had a start, provided to him by Turov’s laptop courtesy of Otto Rencke, theCompany’s resident wizard. Two names, one of them McCann’s. McGarvey had not brought them upduring his meeting at the White House with the president. He’d wanted to give the CIA a headstart before the administration got all over it.
“I have to take a walk, first,” he told the doorman.
“It may not be safe at this time of the evening, sir.”
“That’s okay, he knows how to take care of himself,” Mac’s wife, Kathleen, said, coming outof the lobby. She linked her arm with her husband’s and they headed down the driveway andcrossed the street to the park, the White House lit up like a jewel.
“Is it over, Kirk?” she asked.
“The dangerous parts.”
“No war,” McGarvey said.
They stopped under a light and she studied his broad, honest face. “But there’s more, isn’t
“There’s always more, sweetheart,” McGarvey told her.
Six Months Later