The Last Prophecy

The Last Prophecy

by Jon Land

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Overview

1945: While liberating a concentration camp, an American medical unit uncovers something beneath a body-laden trench. Sixty years later, the survivors of that unit are systematically murdered because of what they saw.

The Present: Enter former Palestinian-American detective Ben Kamal and his Israeli counterpart, Danielle Barnea. Working for the United Nations, Ben and Danielle are forced to return to the Middle East to investigate a massacre in a Palestinian village. They quickly learn that the roots of that massacre lie elsewhere, in another era, on another continent.

While Ben follows the trail of the shadowy force responsible, Danielle finds herself swept into a maelstrom where the past and the present collide, joined by an ancient text of prophecies that predicts a cataclysmic event about to strike the United States. The only way to change a fate foretold long before is to decipher a cryptic message shrouded in secrecy and guarded by a hidden army.

As time ticks down, Ben and Danielle face off against a new and all-powerful enemy with its own crazed reasons for wanting America's very way-of-life destroyed. Their only hope: to use The Last Prophecy.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429957687
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 04/29/2008
Series: Ben and Danielle , #7
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 90,866
File size: 440 KB

About the Author

Jon Land is the acclaimed author of many bestsellers, including The Last Prophecy, Blood Diamonds, The Walls of Jericho, The Pillars of Solomon, A Walk in the Darkness, Keepers of the Gate, and The Blue Widows. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


JON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 37 novels, including Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), and Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller). He's a 1979 graduate of Brown University, lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Read an Excerpt

The Last Prophecy


By Jon Land

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2004 Jon Land
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-5768-7


CHAPTER 1

LOGON COMPLETE ALL STATIONS CONFIRMED ACTIVE ONLINE ENCRYPTION PROCEDURES IN EFFECT

MESSAGE RUNNING

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


THE SITUATION HAS BEEN CONTAINED AS OF TODAY. ALL PROCEEDING AGAIN ON SCHEDULE.

From: GREAT BRITAIN
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


DISCUSS POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


LIMITED.

From: RUSSIA X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


SPECIFY.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


EXPECT MANDATED INVESTIGATION. EASILY CONTAINABLE.

From: JAPAN
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


CONTAINMENT CRUCIAL. OTHERWISE SUGGEST PUSHING BACK TIMETABLE.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


AGENTS ACTIVATED. ALTERATION OF TIMETABLE NOT PRACTICAL. ANY ALTERATION THREATENS PROJECT GOAL.

From: FRANCE
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


HOW MANY DEAD?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


REPEAT MESSAGE.

From: CHINA
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


HOW MANY KILLED TO CONTAIN SITUATION?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


34. ACCEPTABLE NUMBERS. PRIMARY THREAT ELIMINATED. COLLATERAL DAMAGE EXPECTED.

From: GERMANY
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


ARE WE CERTAIN PRIMARY THREAT ISOLATED PRIOR TO CONTAINMENT?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


NO EVIDENCE OF SHARED INTEL.

From: JAPAN
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


SECONDARY TARGETS?

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


ONE. NO COMPLICATIONS EXPECTED.

From: RUSSIA
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean


CONFIRM COUNTDOWN TO PROMETHEUS.

From: UNITED STATES
X-Priority:
Sensitivity: Company-Confidential
To: ALL
MIME-Version: 1.0
IM secure status: active
X-MailScanner: Found to be clean

TEN DAYS.


MESSAGE TERMINATED

CHAPTER 2

"You're not needed here, señor," Colonel Riaz said stiffly. "Everything is under control."

Ben Kamal trained the binoculars one of Riaz's men had provided on the school. "How many hostages still inside?"

"Fourteen."

"That doesn't qualify as under control."

"We have gained the release of thirty-one, señor."

Ben pulled the binoculars from his eyes and looked at Riaz. The stiff wind blew some of his neatly combed hair onto his forehead and he brushed it aside. Like his father's, Ben's hair had actually thickened with age even as the first tinges of gray dappled the dark mane. He was past forty now, and crow's feet dug deeper around his eyes, seeming to dim their radiant shade of blue. Ben had never liked the color of his eyes, wishing they were darker, just as he wished his stomach was as flat and his build as powerful as Riaz's.

"Does that include the three killed when the gunmen took the school?" he asked the colonel.

Riaz stiffened. His dark brow was creased with sweat, and now beads of it had formed on both deeply pockmarked cheeks. He mopped at the right cheek with a forearm. "One of those three was my man: the security guard."

"And one of them was the U.N.'s: the principal. Which means there was one child among the three." Ben's stare hardened. "Who does he belong to, Colonel?"

Riaz scowled. "We did not ask for the U.N.'s help."

"You didn't have to. It's our school."

Ben had been in New York for security strategy meetings at United Nations headquarters when Alexis Arguayo personally pulled him out. Arguayo, head of the U.N.'s Safety and Security Service, was Ben's direct superior. Arguayo had lured him into the organization with a promise of excellent pay and the opportunity to travel to exotic locales in primarily an advisory capacity. That all changed with the bombing of the U.N. compound in Baghdad at the former Canal Hotel. Suddenly Ben was thrust into the limelight as the lead United Nations representative involved in the investigation. For everyone else involved, the results of that investigation were as clear as the culprits were obvious. While others were busy holding press conferences, Ben squirreled his way into the bowels of the compound where he ultimately unearthed a hidden warren of storage chambers that led to the basis for a conclusion to which he alone subscribed.

Ben followed procedure and filed his report through the proper channels, a report that was swiftly denounced as outlandish and totally lacking in fact or evidence. Before he could prove his point, Ben was pulled from the investigation and returned to advisory status where he languished for six months, until that morning. Two hours after Arguayo had pulled him from the meeting, Ben was on a plane to Bogotá. After arriving, he was driven ninety minutes south to the town of Macerta where Colombian rebels had taken students hostage at a school operated under the auspices of the United Nations education division.

Riaz leaned closer and lowered his voice. "I'm going to tell you something, Inspector," he said. "You see that man over there, standing behind our line?"

Ben followed Riaz's eyes, grateful to be out of reach of the colonel's foul-smelling breath, and focused on a well-dressed man with high cheekbones and powerful Indian features.

"I see him."

"His name is Pablo Salgado, Inspector. He is a top official in what's left of the Medellín cartel. Salgado's son is among the hostages."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"This is a personal matter, a drug matter. This was a kidnapping gone wrong. What it becomes now," Riaz added with a shrug, "it becomes."

"Salgado's son is in first grade, Colonel. I doubt very much he even knows what drugs are."

"This is Colombia, Inspector. Sometimes it is better to let these things work out by themselves."

"Do you think the parents of the other thirteen children would agree with you?"

"Their opinions are unimportant," Riaz said.

Ben nodded tightly. "So the gunmen kill Salgado's son and Salgado takes his revenge. ..."

Riaz's eyebrows flickered. "That's what the Americans want, isn't it?"

"I'm American."

"I'm sorry. You look ..."

"Palestinian-American."

"Oh," Riaz said, and left it there.

"This has been going on for seventy-two hours now, Colonel. They ran out of food and water twelve hours ago, which means you're running out of time."

"That's the idea."

Ben looked toward Pablo Salgado, struggling to light a cigarette in a trembling hand, his own soldiers who had accompanied him powerless to do anything but hold the match. He saw Salgado as a man, a father.

Ben turned back toward Riaz. "They've asked for food."

"Yes."

"And you've refused."

"Of course. My troops are in position, señor. I expect to receive the okay to storm the building once night falls."

Ben's mouth tightened. He checked the sky. Another ninety minutes of light, two hours at the outside. Riaz wouldn't be too concerned about casualties; he had already made that clear. Ben looked toward Salgado, a father about to lose a son to another kind of senseless war.

Ben yanked the cell phone from Riaz's belt and thrust it toward him. "There's been a change in plans. Tell the men inside the food is coming."

Riaz gave Ben a long look and snickered, flashing a set of yellowed teeth. "You have no authority here, Inspector. You are strictly an observer."

"And right now I'm observing a man on the verge of causing the United Nations to pull out of his country in total," Ben said, counting on the chance that Riaz didn't see through his bluff. "How do you think your government would feel about that, Colonel?"

Riaz's face reddened. "What do you want, señor?" he asked, barely able to contain his anger.

"To deliver the food they've been asking for."

Riaz caught the look in Ben's eyes and nodded slowly. "My men will not help you. You're on your own."

Ben continued holding the phone out until Riaz snatched it from him. "That's nothing new."

CHAPTER 3

Mohammed Sahib yanked open the warehouse door and, smiling, beckoned the woman to follow him inside. "Is better than what you were expecting, yes?"

Danielle Barnea eyed the huge stacks of flour, foodstuffs, and seed.

"You wish to inspect? Please, please ..."

Danielle moved closer to the sacks, each of them clearly stamped with the United Nations insignia. Outside, the last of the Somali day was fading fast, leaving behind steam-baked air that smelled to Danielle like burning rubber. In these same Mogadishu streets, eighteen American Special Operations troops had lost their lives more than a decade before. That reminded Danielle of some of the ill-fated missions she had been lucky to survive during her days with Israel's Sayaret Matkal, the elite Special Ops force responsible for actions undertaken outside the country. That seemed like a lifetime ago now. So much had come and gone that had led to this operation, brought her here not on behalf of Israel, but the United Nations. Ten months and at least that many assignments for the U.N.'s Safety and Security Service, and it still felt odd.

"You like?" Sahib asked, startling her. He had drawn up close while her mind had been wandering and the smell rising off him was a combination of onions and cheap tobacco. His face was thin, depressions worn into the center of both cheeks that deepened each time he flashed a smile.

She stepped lithely to one side and he tapped one of the sacks, as Danielle watched. He had what looked like a .45 caliber pistol shoved down his baggy pants that billowed over his gaunt frame.

"Is perfect arrangement, yes? United Nations sends for people. We steal before it gets to people. Sell low to brokers who sell high. Everybody win. Makes me feel like capitalist."

Sahib smiled again, his teeth blindingly white.

Danielle ran her eyes about the warehouse, cataloging everything for her report. She counted four armed guards in addition to Sahib, none of them paying much attention, their assault rifles shouldered. The missing shipments had been plaguing the United Nations for years, boatloads of goods that never reached the poor and needy they were supposed to aid. It was estimated by some that fifty percent of all U.N. shipments to Third World countries like Somalia ended up in the hands of black marketeers, corrupt government officials, or a combination thereof.

"I have medicines too, antibiotics. Good ones. You like?"

Danielle turned back to Sahib. "Not this trip."

"We ship anywhere, by boat or plane. Just like FedEx. Plane costs more."

Danielle kept scanning the room, counting the sacks in her mind for her report. Her job here was done. Her cover had held and she had made contact with Sahib, something no other United Nations operative had managed to do. Now she would give Sahib a deposit and provide him with shipping instructions. The balance, of course, would never be paid. The shipping instructions were a sham. U.N. peacekeeping troops stationed twenty miles to the north would seize the stolen goods as soon as she provided the location of the warehouse and security posted in the area.

A high-pitched horn honked behind her and Danielle turned to see an ancient, weathered cargo truck waiting outside the warehouse.

"You will excuse me, yes?"

With that, Sahib trotted away from her and reverently greeted a stout man who had emerged from the passenger side of the truck, preceded by a figure who was clearly his bodyguard as well as driver. The stout man embraced Sahib lightly and then stepped back into Danielle's line of vision.

She felt something shift in her stomach. The stout man was Sharif ali-Aziz Moussan, an Iraqi terrorist with strong links to al-Qaeda. Rumors that he had been killed during the American invasion had been unfounded, leaving him as one of Iraq's most sought-after fugitives still at large.

Moussan spoke softly to Sahib. The Somali smiled tensely, his gaze drifting briefly back to Danielle as he explained her presence here. Moussan nodded, apparently satisfied, while Danielle bemoaned the fact she had come here unarmed in the guise of a conduit and broker. After all, this was purely an intelligence-gathering mission; her job was to turn over whatever she learned for further action and no more.

But Sharif ali-Aziz Moussan would be long gone by the time that further action transpired. She watched Sahib lead Moussan toward another section of the warehouse. The bodyguard who had emerged from the truck ahead of Moussan stepped out of the shadows and fell into step behind them.

Danielle's heart fluttered. She recognized him as well. The man's name was Hassan Tariq, a colonel in Iraq's Special Republican Guard, a man who had personally supervised the guerrilla war waged against American and British troops that had been raging since Baghdad fell.

Across the warehouse, Danielle watched Sahib yank back a thick canvas divider to reveal stacks and stacks of weapons ordnance. Too far away to discern anything more specific than that, she drifted closer, keeping behind some semblance of cover as best she could. The language denoting the contents of the crates was French, not a total surprise considering France's propensity for selling to anyone who could pay. So far as she knew, though, the French arms traders had never done business in this part of the world, meaning this particular shipment must have come from somewhere else or been stolen in transit. Then again, it was also possible the shipment had been smuggled out of Iraq in the early days of the war and brought here for safekeeping until such time as the weapons were needed.

Danielle could read French well enough to recognize the markings on the various crates and boxes: ammunition, assault rifles, grenades, antitank weapons — the crates contained everything a small army needed to wage war, she realized, as Moussan swung suddenly and thrust a finger in her direction.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Last Prophecy by Jon Land. Copyright © 2004 Jon Land. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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