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Authors: Scott Mariani

The Cassandra Sanction

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action packed
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The Cassandra Sanction


Published by Avon an imprint of


1 London Bridge Street,

London SE1 9GF

This ebook edition published by HarperCollins Publishers 2016

Copyright © Scott Mariani 2016

Cover design © Henry Steadman 2016

Scott Mariani asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy
of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required
fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented,
without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780007486199

Ebook Edition © January 2016 ISBN: 9780007486380

Version: 2015-12-17


‘Even in scientific circles, it is not easy to expunge an erroneous conclusion if it has been cited enough times.’
Professor Ronald T. Merril, University of Washington
‘A smart man only believes half of what he hears; a wise man knows which half.’
Col. Jeff Cooper, United States Marine Corps



Title Page




Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Chapter Fifty-Six

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Chapter Sixty

Chapter Sixty-One

Read on for an exclusive extract from
Star of Africa

About the Author

By the Same Author

About the Publisher


Rügen Island,

Baltic coast, northern Germany

16 July

The woman sitting at the wheel of the stationary car was thirty-four years of age but looked at least five years younger. Her hair was long and black. Her face was one that was well known to millions of people. She was as popular for her looks as she was for her intellect, her sharp wit and her professional credentials,
and often recognised wherever she ventured out in public.

But she was alone now. She’d driven many miles to be as far away from anybody as she could, on this particular day.

This day, which was to be the last day of her life.

She’d driven the black Porsche Cayenne four-by-four off the coastal track and up a long incline of rough grass, patchy and flattened by the incessant sea wind,
to rest stationary just metres from the edge of the chalk cliff. The Baltic Sea was hard and grey, unseasonably cold-looking for the time of year. With the engine shut off, she could hear the rumble and crash of the breakers against the rocks far below. Evening was drawing in, and the rising storm brought strong gusts of salt wind that buffeted the car every few seconds and rocked its body on its
suspension. Rain slapped the windscreen and trickled down the glass, like the tears that were running freely down her face as she wept.

She had been sitting there a long time behind the wheel. Reflecting on her life. Picturing in turn the faces of those she was leaving behind, and thinking about how her loss would affect them. One, more than anybody.

She knew how badly she was going to
hurt him by doing this. It would have been the same for her, if it had been the other way round.

Catalina Fuentes gazed out at the sea and whispered, ‘Forgive me, Raul.’

Then she slowly reached for the ignition and restarted the engine. She put the car into drive and gripped the wheel tightly. She took several deep breaths to steady her pounding heart and deepen her resolve. This was it.
The time had come. Now she was ready.

The engine picked up as she touched the gas. The car rolled over the rough grass towards the cliff edge. Past the apex of the incline, the ground sloped downwards before it dropped away sheer, nothing but empty air between it and the rocks a hundred metres below. The Porsche Cayenne bumped down the slope, stones and grit pinging and popping from under
its wheels, flattening the coarse shrubs that clung to the weathered cliff top. Gathering speed, rolling faster and faster as the slope steepened; then its front wheels met with nothingness and the car’s nose tipped downwards into space.

As the Porsche vaulted off the edge of the chalk cliff and began its long, twisting, somersaulting fall, Catalina Fuentes closed her eyes and bid a last goodbye
to the life she’d known and all the people in it.

Chapter One

Ben Hope had been in the bar less than six minutes when the violence kicked off.

His being there in the first place had been purely a chance thing. For a man with nowhere in particular to be at any particular time and under no sort of pressure except to find a cool drink on a warm early October afternoon, the little Andalusian town of Frigiliana offered more than enough choice
of watering holes to pick out at random, and the whitewashed bar tucked away in a corner of a square in the Moorish quarter had seemed like the kind of quiet place that appealed.

Pretty soon, it was looking like he’d picked the wrong one, at the wrong time. Of all the joints in all the pueblos of the Sierra Almijara foothills, he’d had to wander into this one.

He’d been picking up the
vibe and watching the signs from the moment he walked in. But the beer looked good, and it was too late to change his mind, and he didn’t have anything better to do anyway, so he hung around mainly to see whether his guess would turn out right. Which it soon did.

The bar wasn’t exactly crowded, but it wasn’t empty either. Without consciously counting, he registered the presence of a dozen
people in the shady room, not including the owner, a wide little guy in a faded polo shirt, who was lazily tidying up behind the bar and didn’t speak as he served Ben a bottle of the local
. Ben carried his drink over to a shady corner table, dumped his bag and settled there with his back to the wall, facing the door, away from the other punters, where he could see the window and survey
the rest of the room at the same time.

Old habits. Ben Hope was someone who preferred to observe than to be observed. He reclined in his chair and sipped his cool beer. The situation unfolding in front of him was a simple one, following a classic pattern he had witnessed more often and in more places in his life than he cared to count, like an old movie he’d seen so many times before. What
was coming was as predictable and inevitable as the fact that he wasn’t just going to sit there and let it happen.

On the left side of the room, midway between Ben’s corner table and the bar, a guy was sitting alone nursing a half-empty tumbler and a half-empty bottle of Arehucas Carta Oro rum that he looked intent on finishing before he passed out. He was a man around his mid-thirties, obviously
a Spaniard, lean-faced, with a thick head of glossy, tousled black hair and skin tanned to the colour of
café con leche
. His expression was grim, his eyes bloodshot. A four-day beard shaded his cheeks and his white shirt was crumpled and grubby, as if he’d been wearing it for a few days and sleeping in it too. But he didn’t have the look of a down-and-out or a vagrant. Just of a man who was very
obviously upset and working hard to find solace in drink.

Ben knew all about that.

The Spanish guy sitting alone trying to get wrecked wasn’t the problem. Nor were the elderly couple at the table in the right corner at the back of the barroom, opposite Ben. The old man must have been about a thousand years old, and the way his withered neck stuck out of his shirt collar made Ben think
of a Galapagos tortoise. His wife wasn’t much younger, shrivelled to something under five feet with skin like rawhide. The Moorish Sultans had probably still ruled these parts back when they’d started dating. Still together, still in love. Ben thought they looked like a sweet couple, in a wrinkly kind of way.

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