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First there was Bond.
Then there was Bourne.
Now comes Hel.
Nicholai Hel-a Westerner by birth but an Asian by upbringing-speaks seven languages, kills with a naked hand, and is a master of the world's most challenging game of strategy: Go. All this has made him a very dangerous man-an assassin who blends in anywhere, doesn't need weapons to kill his targets, and sees ten moves ahead.
Released from three years of honing his mental and physical skills in solitary confinement on the condition that he kill a high-ranking Soviet official in China, Hel must survive a suicide mission to save his own life and the beautiful French spy that he loves.
It's the height of the Cold War.
The game is lethal, the stakes enormous.
Nicholai Hel is on the board.
with her left hand to steady the pencil. But is he really dead and is it my fault? Was our indiscretion discovered, did the emperor find out that his crown had horns and order Nicholai killed out of jealousy? No, she thought, if Bao Dai had done that he couldn’t have resisted telling me, or at least hinting at it. And his ardor in the bedroom has certainly not diminished. Solange was familiar with the behavior of men who suspected they’d been cuckolded. They were sullen and ridiculous — wanting
and more to Louis. They spent virtually all their free time together, although Louis was very busy with his studies at Montpellier’s excellent and ancient medical school. He was busier with the Resistance, even more passionate about his communism now that he lived cheek by jowl with facism. A messenger at first, he rode his bicycle around the city with coded messages hidden inside his medical texts, but it wasn’t long before his intelligence and courage brought him to the attention of the
between him and his target. Difficult, yes, but not impossible. Only failure is impossible. Unthinkable. As he rounded the northern edge of the lake, Nicholai broke into a sprint to break up the boredom but mostly to see what sort of speed the Greyhound really had. It might come to that — a footrace to create space and time to lose the man in Xuanwu. The Greyhound lived up his moniker. He accepted Nicholai’s challenge and stayed with him for the first minute or so, but then Nicholai took it
“Wouldn’t you?” “No,” Kang said. “I hated my mother.” “I’m sorry.” Kang shrugged. “But certainly the Americans didn’t sponsor you to come on a matter of personal revenge,” Kang said. “Why did they send you?” “To kill Voroshenin,” Nicholai answered. “Why?” Nicholai told him all of it — the whole plot to drive a wedge between Beijing and Moscow. Because it didn’t matter now. All he needed now was for Kang to make the anticipated move. There was a chance that he wouldn’t, but Nicholai
on perfection, challenged his intellect and considerable talent for languages. He exceeded her expectations — his pride made him a superb student. They conversed through lunch, and then Nicholai took his customary walk in the garden. Knowing that he needed solitude, she was discreet enough never to accept his polite invitation to join him. Instead, she had a small rest before starting preparations for dinner. When he came back, they would go over maps of Montpellier, photographs of certain