Review

The Paris Option

by Robert Ludlum

Read an Excerpt



The Covert-One series has become another milestone in Robert
Ludlum's 30 year reign as the king of international thrillers. Even
though these books are collaborations between Ludlum and other
well-known authors, it's obvious that he chose his collaborators
well. THE PARIS OPTION, like those that preceded it, has the
familiar Ludlum cadence and complexity that keeps the action moving
and the reader on the edge of their seat.

Lt. Col. Jon Smith, one of the series' recurring characters, is an
army medical officer whose expertise placed him in the US Army's
Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. But Smith has a
sideline, one that doesn't appear on any official records. He works
for a special unit called Covert-One as a clandestine specialist
occasionally assigned by the President to handle the most top
secret, sensitive problems. In THE PARIS OPTION, his assignment
begins in a Colorado lab, assisting the scientists who are
scrambling to develop the world's first molecular computer. The DNA
computer could render all current technology antiquated, and only a
few labs are competing to be the first to have a working model.
When a renowned Paris lab is blown up by terrorists, world leaders
are forced to contemplate the worst. A DNA computer in the wrong
hands could also render the world defenseless.

Mourning the probable death of the world's leading scientist, Dr.
Chambord, Smith is dismayed to learn his old friend Marty was also
injured in the blast and remains in a coma. With a Ph.D. in
computer science, Marty might hold the answers as to who's behind
the bombing, just how close Chambord was to creating a working
model, and where the doctor's valuable notes are hidden. As Smith
begins his subtle investigation in Paris, it's soon evident he's
not alone in the hunt, and even more alarming, Dr. Chambord isn't
dead after all --- he's missing. The list of possible conspirators
is hefty, as subsequent events seem to point to rebel factions in
several countries and even to the highly prestigious offices of the
French commander of NATO forces. Likewise, the possible target of a
scheme of this magnitude is a wide open field, but given the
animosity that exists for the military and economic power of the US
in a good portion of Europe and the Middle East, the US would seem
to be a likely candidate.

Roaming the globe from Paris to Algiers, Smith is reunited with MI5
agent Peter Howells and CIA agent Randi Russell as they join forces
to outwit the terrorists, recover Chambord, and stop the inevitable
destruction of the world's delicate balance of power. While the
dramatic intensity never eases for long, readers are given moments
of Ludlum's cautionary philosophy, equally applied to all
regardless of political persuasion. Every scientific breakthrough
carries a responsibility --- and a potential threat. He skillfully
employs the characters and scenes to provoke the reader to ruminate
on the morality of the circumstances, but the impact is anything
but subtle. Confronted with the inevitable conundrum --- save the
prototype or destroy it --- Jon Smith becomes the scapegoat for our
collective conscience. Whatever ultimately transpires, no matter
which path he chooses, there won't be any catastrophic consequences
because this is fiction. Isn't it?

THE PARIS OPTION is the third installment in the Covert-One series,
and given the publisher's statement that more manuscripts are
stockpiled for posthumous publication, it may not be the last. This
is the second book of the series co-written by Gayle Lynds, a
thriller novelist in her own right. Her third novel, MESMERIZED, was reviewed here and found to be
a happy addition to this reader's burgeoning list of authors to
collect. Ludlum's legacy will continue to thrive in the capable
hands of writers like Lynds and Philip Shelby, who are perfecting
their talents in the spirit of their remarkable predecessor and
mentor.

Reviewed by Ann Bruns on January 22, 2011

The Paris Option
by Robert Ludlum

  • Publication Date: July 3, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, International Intrigue
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312289871
  • ISBN-13: 9780312289874