Excerpt from The SIGMA Protocol by Robert Ludlum, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The SIGMA Protocol

By Robert Ludlum

The SIGMA Protocol
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Oct 2001,
    528 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2002,
    672 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


He reached for the dead man's arm and dragged him over. Seconds remained. He yanked off the dead man's tawny coat and grabbed the gray cap, conscious of baleful eyes upon him from shoppers cowering near the Western Union. This was no time for delicacy. Now he shrugged into the roomy overcoat, pulled the cap down hard on his head. If he was to remain alive, he would have to resist the urge to dart toward the second-level escalators like a jackrabbit: he had gone hunting enough to know that anything that moved too abruptly was likely to be shot by an itchy fingered gunman. Instead, he clambered slowly to his feet, hunched, staggering, weaving like an old man who had lost blood. He was now visible and supremely vulnerable: the ruse had to last just long enough to get him to the escalator. Maybe ten seconds. So long as Cavanaugh thought he was a wounded bystander, he wouldn't waste another bullet on him.

Ben's heart was hammering in his chest, his every instinct screaming at him to break into a sprint. Not yet. Hunched over, shoulders rounded, he staggered on with an unsteady gait, his strides as long as he could make them without exciting suspicion. Five seconds. Four seconds. Three seconds.

At the escalator, which had emptied out, abandoned by the terrified pedestrians, the man in the bloodied camel-hair overcoat seemed to crumple face forward, before the movement of the stairs took him out of view.

Now!

Inaction had been as strenuous as exertion, and, every nerve in his body twitching, Ben had broken his fall with his hands. As quietly as he could, he raced down the remaining stairs.

He heard a bellow of frustration from upstairs: Cavanaugh would now be after him. Every second had to count.

Ben put on another burst of speed, but the second below-ground level of the arcade was a virtual maze. There was no straight route of egress to the other side of the Bahnhofplatz, just a succession of byways, the wider walkways punctuated with kiosks of wood and glass that sold cellular phones, cigars, watches, posters. To a dilatory shopper, they were islands of interest--to him, an obstacle course.

Still, they reduced the number of sight lines. They lessened the chance of the long-distance kill. And so they bought him time. Perhaps enough time for Ben to secure the one thing he had on his mind: a shield.

He ran past a blur of boutiques: Foto Video Ganz, Restseller Buchhandlung, Presensende Stickler, Microspot. Kinderboutique, with its window crammed with furry stuffed animals, the display framed by green-and-gold-painted wood with an incised ivy pattern. There was the chrome and plastic of a Swisscom outlet . . . All of them festively plying their goods and services, all utterly worthless to him. Then, straight ahead, to his right, next to a Credit Suisse/Volksbank branch office, he spotted a luggage store. He looked through the window, heaped high with soft-sided leather suitcases--no good. The item he was after was inside: a large, brushed-steel briefcase. No doubt the gleaming steel cladding was as much cosmetic as functional, but it would serve. It would have to. As Ben darted in the store, grabbed the article, and ran out, he noticed that the proprietor, pale and sweating, was jabbering hysterically in Schweitzerdeutsch on the telephone. No one bothered to run after Ben; word of the insanity had already spread.

Ben had gained a shield; he had also lost precious time. Even as he sprang out of the luggage store, he saw its display window transformed into an oddly beautiful spiderweb in the instant before it disintegrated into shards. Cavanaugh was close, so close Ben didn't dare look around to try to locate his position. Instead, Ben charged forward into a crowd of shoppers emerging from Franscati, a large department store at one end of the cruciform plaza. Holding up the briefcase, Ben lunged forward, tripping on someone's leg, regaining his footing with difficulty, losing a few precious moments.

Excerpted from The SIGMA Protocol, (c) 2002 Robert Ludlum. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh

All Discussions

Who Said...

Censorship, like charity, should begin at home: but unlike charity, it should end there.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.