A smart girl who ought to know better gets trapped by greed and sex in a fraud that will ruin her life unless she can outrun it. And she does, taking advantage of a friend's ticket on a luxury European cruise to plan her next step. But then fate gets in Hannah Gray's way, in the form of a murdered scientist whose secret formula ends up in her possession. Eluding the assasains who slay their way through the Greek Islands in search of the formula, and the spies who track her through Istanbul, Hannah never quite figures out why a few lines scribbled on the flyleaf of the scientist's guidebook are so important; in a clumsy bit of plotting, they involve the Ultimate, Planet-Busting Weapon, invented by a man with a social conscience who's run away rather than turn them over to a government that might not have one. But she quickly catches on to the fact that they're valuable enough to buy her way out of the trouble she's in and set her up for life, if she can get away from the killers on the ship and the G-men who are waiting on shore to take her into custody. Altman is a solid craftsman who keeps the plot moving swiftly and the scenery vivid and appealing, but it's hard to care much about any of the good and/or bad guys and gals, or even figure out which is which. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. In his first two well-received thrillers, A Gathering of Spies and A Game of Spies, Altman used familiar backgrounds from WWII fiction in imaginative ways. He does the same good service in his latest, an exciting and moving adventure set in the present but owing much to the moral quandaries explored by past masters such as Eric Ambler and John le Carre. Hannah Gray is a classic Ambler character-a woman fleeing one set of troubles and getting caught up in another. Gray discovers that her lover and business partner in a Chicago medical research firm has been pulling off massive medicare fraud without her knowledge. Instead of immediately blowing the whistle, Gray takes a last-minute offer from a friend to go on a cruise from Venice to the Greek Isles, a chance to lie low and think about her options. On board, Gray befriends an elderly couple, Renee and Steven Epstein. Unbeknownst to Gray, Steven is a scientist working for a top-secret U.S. government agency, and is having second thoughts about his major breakthrough on a new energy source with devastating weapons possibilities. The head of the agency, Keyes (who goes by only one name), sends a pair of agents-including one who suffers from a medical condition that lets him pass for a 13-year-old boy-to kill Steven and Renee and recover any records of the breakthrough. Renee innocently gives Gray a guidebook in which Steven had written down the energy formula, and soon Gray is ankle-deep in death and deception in exotic locales. Altman humanizes all this contrivance with many beautifully drawn characters, especially the distraught but resourceful Gray and the terminally overwrought Keyes, already weakened by the death of a young son some years before. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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