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Top Hookby Gordon Kent
Synopses & Reviews
THE STREETS WERE A RIVER OF COLOR IN THE DARK, sequins and silks swirling around bare flesh. Masks and cloaks fought the assault of the rain and the splashes of the sea underfoot. Costumes flowed toward San Marco, just as the tide of the Adriatic ebbed away, leaving salt puddles to reflect the glare of carnival.
The pounding music from the palazzi and the manic orchestration of voices, Italian and foreign, stunned Anna's senses as she ran. Her masculine costume had saved her in the seconds when the meeting had gone bad, and now it freed her to move, thrusting through the tangle of the crowd. The sword at her side caught at passersby until she took the sheath in her left hand and lifted the hilt off her hip.
She stopped with her back against a medieval shop at the base of a bridge. Music pulsed through the stone at her back, and her lungs burned as she peered around the corner at the arch of the footbridge. Two lovers embraced against the stone railing; a reveler in a black cloak and white Pantalone mask strode past her toward the bridge. At the top of the arch stood another of the Serbs who had tried to kill her, talking into a cellphone, his head moving like an owl's. None of the Serbs had bothered to wear masks or costumes; all had leather jackets and mustaches. High on adrenaline, she drew the sword and shrugged off her cloak in one unconsciously dramatic motion. She gathered the cloak in her left hand and risked one glance back into the thick of the crowd. Then she drew herself up and flung herself around the corner at the bridge.
Because the Serb was talking, he was slow. She rushed past the Venetian in the white mask, his dignified walk and cloak screening her for an extra second. She threw her own cloak with both hands, and the Serb shot at it on instinct. His second shot buzzed in her ear as she took a last step and leaped, lunging forward, her whole weight driving the point of the smallsword through his neck. The blade grated against the vertebrae and she rolled her wrist and used the speed of her rush to tear the blade free. Momentum carried her past her victim, and she stumbled, caught herself on the railing, and leaped to the parapet of the bridge.
The reveler's white mask turned to the movement, black eye sockets locked on her. One of the lovers had been hit by a shot, and the Serb's open throat pumped red blood on the gray stones. A second’s balance on the parapet as her mind recorded the copper scent and the sheen of blood, and she dove into the canal. The unwounded lover screamed.
The shock of the water cut off the screams, and she swam, eyes and mouth shut tight. She stayed down, lungs bursting from the run and the adrenaline, until her hands found the opening and she thrust herself through and up into the tiny space of a partly submerged chapel, lightless, silent. For an entire minute, she could do nothing but breathe, supporting herself on a stone that had been the base of the altar.
She snapped on a tiny flashlight whose glow reflected off gold leaf and mosaic.
Anna rolled into her waiting canoe, half filling it with water, and sat up. Her right hand still clutched the sword, and she pushed it under the bag in the front of the boat and played the tiny beam of light around her. The chapel had been a military one, eight hundred years ago; she hadn't noticed it when she had entered at low tide. Now, she watched the ceiling as t
Ambitious, married naval lieutenant-commanders Alan Craik and Rose Siciliano find their lives turned upside down when they are implicated in the hunt for a traitor code-named "Top Hook," an unknown enemy who has been supplying secrets to the Chinese, and their only hope is to uncover the traitor before their careers are destroyed and the U.S. and China drift into war. Reprint.
GORDON KENT is the pseudonym of a father and son writing team, who both have extensive personal experience in the U.S. Navy and are former intelligence officers. The son earned his Observer Wings in S-3 Vikings, and left active duty in 1999. They share interests in history, fishing, and Africa, where they have spent considerable time, in and out of military service. Both live in the United States, where they are working on a fourth Alan Craik novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
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