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Robert Ludlum's The Altman Code


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During his thirty-year career Ludlum sold 220 million copies in 40 countries in 32 different languages His recent books have been SUNDAY TIMES bestsellers and GUARDIAN fastsellers in paperback Ludlum's THE BOURNE IDENTITY was a major Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon and THE BOURNE SUPREMACY is now in production The COVERT-ONE novels have consistently sold extremely well to traditional fans and his new audience Ludlum always receives first-rate reviews: 'A page-turner of non-stop action that should leave his fans begging for more' NEW YORK POST 'Huge in scope ... Ludlum spins it all together with lots of suspense' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'The pace is fast, the action plentiful ... a must read' BOOKLIST 'Ludlum stuffs more surprises into his novels than any other six-pack of thriller writers combined' NEW YORK TIMES 'The real titan of the genre is Robert Ludlum ... the world's most read writer' GQ

About the Author

After a successful career in the theatre, Robert Ludlum launched his career as a best-selling writer with THE SCARLATTI INHERITANCE in 1971, the first of twenty-two consecutive international bestsellers. Robert sadly passed away in March 2001. Gayle Lynds is the co-author of three Covert-One novels and is the author of several bestselling thrillers.


As the Chinese ship the Dowager Empress sails from Shanghai to Iraq with a secret deadly cargo, Covert-One agent Jon Smith must attain a copy of the real manifest to prevent an international incident. Ludlum and Lynds populate their novel with the requisite double-crossers, counterspies, and ambitious politicians in two countries and have keen screenwriters' eyes with their major players and characterizations. The central villains and heroes may be Bondian in scope, but the plot bogs down with repetitious reports to the usual higher-ups and is too predictable to maintain the tension. Extending the timetable of Jon's prime mission to allow him extra theatrics to seal the two major plot lines together is far too convenient. An entertaining book read by Don Leslie, but not essential for smaller collections.-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

This latest product from the efficient assembly line of the Ludlum thriller factory has been somewhat overtaken by events: it revolves around a Chinese freighter carrying weapons-grade chemicals to the port of Basra in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. There are also a couple of neat subplots, including an elderly American being held prisoner in China who claims to be the real father of U.S. President Sam Adams Castilla, and the dirty doings of a giant international business combine called the Altman Group, whose members make Ian Fleming's old adversaries look like the operatives of a corner candy store. All of this provides plenty of action and intrigue for the folks at Covert-One, the top-secret agency which now operates out of a private yacht club in Anacostia, Md.-close enough to the White House for President Castilla to drop in on agency boss Fred Klein of an evening with just one Lincoln Town Car full of Secret Service folk. Most of the heavy lifting, actionwise, falls on the capable shoulders of Covert-One's Col. Jon Smith, who as "a medical doctor and biomolecular scientist" as well as an army officer is the ideal combination of brains and muscle. He needs both, as well as the patience to endure dialogue like this from Castilla: "I don't know whether you realize it, but China is one of the signatories of the international agreement that prohibits development, production, stockpiling, or use of chemical weapons. They won't let themselves be revealed as breaking that treaty, because it could slow their march to acquiring a bigger and bigger slice of the global economy." Exactly. (June 17) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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