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 The development of a revolutionary new computer chip by a Silicon Valley scientist puts him and his colleagues in mortal peril from the US and German governments--in a suspenseful, transnational thriller from Pineiro (Exposure, 1996, etc.). After four years of effort, Jake Fischer's fledgling firm (Fischer Technology, Inc.) fabricates a reproducible molecular memory device (built from bacterial proteins) whose speed and processing power could make obsolete conventional semiconductors. Mindful the BND has a man inside FTI, the FBI keeps the company under surveillance as well. Whereas Berlin wants to purloin the breakthrough to jump-start a united Germany's flagging economy, Washington plans to delay its market introduction by a decade or more to ensure an orderly programmed transition that would salvage the investments of domestic circuit suppliers. Meanwhile, the Germans recruit Vladimir Titov-Escobar (a.k.a. ``Kardinal''), a Stasi veteran who moves fast, burning FTI's California lab to the ground, kidnapping Sergei Lyevenski (the company's chief technical officer), and making off with a computer tape detailing the protein chip's technology. Although special agent Sonya WÅttenberg (also an old Stasi hand) is powerless to stop this raid, the FBI tracks the terrorist to Paris, where he's to collect his fee in return for Sergei and the tape. The feds stage an 11th-hour ambush, and the Russian ÇmigrÇ (a former KGB officer) escapes in the confusion-- with the payoff ($25.0 million in securities as well as cash) and the tape. While Sergei dodges his erstwhile captors in the back alleys of Montmartre, Sonya browbeats Jake into letting her use him as bait. Once in the City of Lights, Jake proves himself a good man under fire. With a little help from hardnosed Sonya, the amateur operative leads the increasingly desperate Kardinal and his murderous crew a merry chase, as does the resourceful Sergei (with whom he's linked up). The threesome eventually survives a climactic confrontation in the Bois de Boulogne. A rough-and-tumble entertainment with violent action and plot twists aplenty.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-85983-X
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1997


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