Title: The Moscow Vector
Author: Patrick Larkin
Larkin, Patrick (2008). Robert Ludlum’s The Moscow Vector. New York : St. Martin’s Griffin
PS3612.A65 R63 2005
- Intelligence officers–Fiction.
- Moscow (Russia)–Fiction.
Date Updated: November 6, 2015
Generally, I like Ludlum books, even when co-written. That is not true for other writers, such as Clancy and Cussler. In those cases the characters remain the same, but the stories ring like lead bells to me.
In The Moscow Vector, one might think that time would have taken its toll on the crusty, disgruntled Soviet dinosaurs who want to return Russia to its Communist glory days, but evidently not. Larkin, the lead writer of Ludlum’s Covert One series, has dreamed up a new bunch of hard-liners, armed with HYDRA, a designer poison that singles out and kills victims based on DNA.
With HYDRA having dispatched numerous U.S. and allied intelligence agents, Russian President Viktor Dudarev is poised to launch Operation ZHUKOV, a takeover strike against Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and half of Ukraine. Leading a covert investigation of HYDRA is series regular Lt. Col. Jonathan Smith, U.S. Army molecular biologist and chief operative of super secret spy agency Covert One.
There’s nothing particularly new—HYDRA is an unwieldy weapon (it must be tailor-made for each victim), and super-sleuth Jon spends far too much time ferreting out information that readers have known for hundreds of pages. The threat of a Russian takeover of lost territory may not raise the temperature high enough, and various subplots, such as an attempted assassination of the U.S. president, don’t amount to much. There are plenty of excellent shoot-outs, but Larkin’s last outing, The Lazarus Vendetta, was far more cutting edge.