Excerpt from The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Janson Directive

by Robert Ludlum

The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum X
The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2002, 542 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2003, 542 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

PROLOGUE

N. Indian Ocean, 250 miles east of Sri Lanka
Northwestern Anura


The night was oppressive, the air at body temperature and almost motionless. Earlier in the evening there had been light, cooling rains, but now everything seemed to radiate heat, even the silvery half-moon, its countenance brushed with the occasional wisps of cloud. The jungle itself seemed to exhale the hot, moist breath of a predator lying in wait.

Shyam shifted restlessly in his canvas chair. It was, he knew, a fairly ordinary night on the island of Anura for this time of year: early in the monsoon season, the air was always heavy with a sense of foreboding. Yet only the ever attentive mosquitoes disturbed the quiet. At half past one in the morning, Shyam reckoned he had been on checkpoint duty for four and a half hours. In that time, precisely seven motorists had come their way. The checkpoint consisted of two parallel lines of barbed-wire frames--"knife rests"--set up eighty feet apart on the road, to either side of the search and administration area. Shyam and Arjun were the two sentries on forward duty, and they sat in front of the wooden roadside booth. A pair of backups was supposedly on duty on the other side of the hill, but the hours of silence from them suggested that they were dozing, along with the men in the makeshift barracks a few hundred feet down the road. For all the dire warnings of their superiors, these had been days and nights of unrelieved boredom. The northwestern province of Kenna was sparsely populated in the best of times, and these were not the best of times.

Now, drifting in with the breeze, as faint as a distant insect drone, came the sound of a gunned motor.

Shyam slowly got to his feet. The sound was growing closer.

"Arjun," he called out in a singsong tone. "Ar-jun. Car coming."

Arjun lolled his head in a circle, working out a crick in his neck. "At this hour?" He rubbed his eyes. The humidity made the sweat lie heavily on his skin, like mineral oil.

In the dark of the semi-forested terrain, Shyam could finally see the headlights. Over a revved-up motor, loud whoops of delight could be heard.

"Dirty farm kids," Arjun grumbled.

Shyam, for his part, was grateful for anything that interrupted the tedium. He had spent the past seven days on the night shift at the Kandar vehicle checkpoint, and it felt like a hardship post. Naturally, their stone-faced superior had been at pains to emphasize how important, how crucial, how vital in every way, the assignment was. The Kandar checkpoint was just up the road from the Stone Palace, where the government was holding some sort of hush-hush gathering. So security was tight, and this was the only real road that connected the palace to the rebel-held region just to the north. The guerrillas of the Kagama Liberation Front knew about the checkpoints, however, and kept away. As did most everyone else: between the rebels and the anti-rebel campaigns, more than half the villagers to the north had fled the province. And the farmers who stayed in Kenna had little money, which meant that the guards could not expect much by way of "tips." Nothing ever happened, and his wallet stayed thin. Was it something he had done in a previous life?

The truck came into view; two shirtless young men were in the cab. The roof was down. One of boys was now standing up, pouring a sudsy can of beer over his chest and cheering. The truck--probably loaded with some poor farmer's kurakkan, or root crops--was rounding the bend at upward of eighty miles per hour, as fast as the groaning engine would go. American rock music, from one of the island's powerful AM stations, blared.

The yelps and howls of merriment echoed through the night. They sounded like a pack of drunken hyenas, Shyam thought miserably. Penniless joyriders: they were young, wasted, didn't give a damn about anything. In the morning they would, though. The last time this happened, several days earlier, the truck's owner got a visit later that morning from the youths' shamefaced parents. The truck was returned, along with many, many bushels of kurakkan to make amends for whatever damage had been done. As for the kids, well, they couldn't sit without wincing, not even on a cushioned car seat.

The Janson Directive. Copyright 2002 by Myn Pyn LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews Reproduced by permission of the publisher, St Martin's Press.

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Flight Portfolio
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Make Friends with the Dark
    How to Make Friends with the Dark
    by Kathleen Glasgow
    Don't go to bed angry; make up after fights; always say I love you – you don't know when ...
  • Book Jacket
    Red Birds
    by Mohammed Hanif
    Mohmmed Hanif's Red Birds is part Catch-22, part Slaughterhouse-Five, part Kafka's The Castle, and ...
  • Book Jacket: Endeavour
    Endeavour
    by Peter Moore
    Miriam-Webster defines a biography as "a usually written history of a person's life." One might ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Volunteer
    by Jack Fairweather

    The true story of one man, an underground army, and the secret mission to destroy Auschwitz from within.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Patsy
    by Nicole Dennis-Benn

    A haunting depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the silent threads of love.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Guest Book

The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense."
—Entertainment Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

M I Haste, R A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.