R. J. Pineiro, Author . Forge $25.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0060-7

Pineiro (Y2K; boosts the action level and goes international in this outing, in which North Korea hires a former East Geman agent to steal access codes to a U.S. military spy satellite with the capability to cause mass destruction. The code (aka the Ultimate Encryption) is guarded by an artificial intelligence clone of computer entrepreneur Mortimer Fox; Fox's daughter, Monica, has half the password and Fox's bodyguard, former CIA and NSA agent Bruce Tucker, has the other half. Bruce runs to his old CIA boss when his nemesis, Vlad Jarkko, kills Fox, but he is followed. Jarkko drugs him with a blow dart but bungles the kidnapping, kills Bruce's former boss and frames Bruce for the death. Labeled a rogue agent to be shot on sight, Bruce calls in some debts to get false IDs for himself and Monica and races to Capri to find her, ahead of Jarkko and the Feds. Donald Bane, the CIA's aging counterterrorism chief, is closing on Capri, and his team follows the spies until a trick lands Bane on his own with Raffaela, a gutsy Italian boat captain. The plot zooms from this point on, as Monica is abducted to North Korea and the NSA head wants Bruce dead. Pineiro has a knack for spinning cliffhanging twists into impossible situations resolved by explosively clever means. Too many of the book's almost 500 pages are wasted on long, descriptive passages, and an abundance of computer jargon will prove dull for nongeeks, but tech-heads should take notice. Agent, Matthew Bialer. National advertising.(Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-7653-4015-3
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4668-5011-8
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