Excerpt from The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Prometheus Deception

by Robert Ludlum

The Prometheus Deception
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2000, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2001, 576 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Bryson had only had one serious job in his life, and this was it; still, he recognized the undertones of the pink-slip talk. He fought the urge to defend himself, for that was not Directorate procedure; it was unseemly. He recalled one of Waller’s mantras: There’s no such thing as bad luck, then thought of another maxim. "All’s well that ends well," Bryson said. "And it did end well."

"We almost lost you," Waller said. "I almost lost you," he added ruefully, a teacher speaking to a prize student who has disappointed him.

"That’s not pertinent," Bryson said quietly. "Anyway, you can't read the rules on the side of the box when you’re in the field; you know that. You taught me that. You improvise, you follow instinct—not just established protocol."

"Losing you could have meant losing Tunisia.There’s a cascade effect:
when we intervene, we do so early enough to make a difference. Actions are carefully titrated, reactions calibrated, variables accounted for. And so you nearly compromised quite a few other undercover operations, in Maghreb and other places around the sandbox. You put other lives in jeopardy, Nicky—other operations and other lives. The Technician’s legend was intricately connected to other legends we’d manufactured; you know that. Yet you let your cover get blown. Years of undercover work compromised because of you!"

"Now, wait a second—"

"Giving them ‘defective munitions’—how did you think they wouldn't suspect you?"

"Damn it, they weren’t supposed to be defective!"

"But they were. Why?"

"I don’t know!"

"Did you inspect them?"

"Yes! No! I don’t know. It never crossed my mind that the goods weren’t as they were represented."

"That was a serious lapse, Nicky. You endangered years of work, years of deep-cover planning, cultivation of valuable assets. The lives of some of our most valuable assets! Goddamn it, what were you thinking?"

Bryson was silent for a moment. "I was set up," he said at last.

"Set up how?"

"I can't say for sure."

"If you were ‘set up,’ that means you were already under suspicion, correct?"

"I—I don’t know."

"‘I don’t know?’ Not exactly words that inspire confidence, are they? They’re not words I like to hear. You used to be our top field operative. What happened to you, Nick?"

"Maybe—somehow—I screwed up. Don’t you think I’ve gone over it and over it in my mind?"

"I’m not hearing answers, Nick."

"Maybe there aren't any answers—not now, not yet."

"We can't afford such screwups. We can't tolerate this kind of carelessness. None of us can. We allow for margins of error. But we cannot go beyond them. The Directorate doesn’t tolerate mistakes. You’ve known that since day one."

"You think there was something I could have done differently? Or maybe you think some else could have done it better?"

"You were the best we ever had, you know that. But as I told you, these decisions are reached at consortium level, not at my desk."

A chill ran through Bryson upon hearing the bureaucratese that told him Waller had already distanced himself from the consequences of the decision to let him go. Ted Waller was Bryson’s mentor, boss, and friend, and, fifteen years ago, his teacher. He had supervised his apprenticeship, briefed him personally before the operations he worked on early in his career. It was an immense honor, and Bryson felt it to this day. Waller was the most brilliant man he’d ever met. He could solve partial differential equations in his head; he possessed vast stores of arcane geopolitical knowledge. At the same time his lumbering frame belied his extraordinary physical dexterity. Bryson recalled him at a shooting range, absently hitting one bull’s-eye after another from seventy feet while chatting about the sad decline of British bespoke tailoring. The .22 looked puny in his large, plump, soft hand; it was so under his control that it might have been another finger.

Copyright Robert Ludlum 2000. All rights reserved.

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!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach

    "An auspicious, gut-wrenching, wonderful debut." - Kirkus, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.