An astonishing new novel by Ian Watson and Andy West
A historical and contemporary thriller of medical terrorism about Ebola's cousin
Canadian historian Abigail Leclaire´s discovery of an enigmatic medieval poem leads to a menacing visit from ICE, a branch of America´s Homeland Security. But how can medieval religious fanatics, the Assassins of Alamut, have any possible connection with present day terrorism? Abigail´s intense curiosity, and her refusal to be cowed, leads her to a reckless and exciting jaunt across hazardous Middle Eastern lands in company with a charismatic Syrian professor. Meanwhile, back in the 12th century, a Syrian doctor of genius is obsessed with understanding the nature of the deadly plague known today as the Black Death, the "seeds" of which he risks his life to discover amid tribal warfare deep in the forests of Ethiopia.
Funded and escorted by Assassins, the ruthless Syrian doctor returns to Ethiopia, his party hacking their way through hostile territory and pirate
attack. After a bizarre attempt on her life, Abigail finds herself robbing a medieval tomb in Provence, attempting to find the precious Waters of Life, during which episode she is betrayed and finds herself on the wrong end of a gun. Jack Turner, the persecutory agent of ICE, intervenes to save her life and that of her new companion, Paul Summers, a Boston news reporter. All three go on to rob another centuries-old grave in southern Spain, yet this crime is also beset by calamity. Abigail is getting close to solving the riddle of medieval and modern terrorism. But already a modern-day Assassin has arrived in America, carrying within his very veins a lethal package.
The doctor´s researches in the jungles of southern Ethiopia bear fruit during fanatical years of anguish and toil. He isolates the deadly jinn that can reap nations. Abigail and Paul, desperate to warn the world of the global biological attack which they are sure is imminent, are captured and held incommunicado by extreme Christian fundamentalists who have their own crazy agenda regarding the pestilence. A surprise rescue leads to Paul exposing himself to plague while heroically opposing the fundamentalists' inside their private bio-research laboratory. As he goes into quarantine and the devastating real Black Death, nothing to do with rats-fleas and puny Yersinia pestis, begins to ravage the world, will Abigail's discoveries save the lives of several billion people?
"Fluidly written, with finely drawn characters and spot-on historical research, Assassins (Book 1 of The Waters of Destiny) is a tightly plotted international thriller that flips effortlessly between the 12th and 21st centuries to tell a gripping tale of ancient hatreds and modern-day nightmares. Starring a murderous sect of medieval Muslims – that may just have survived into our own age – a Christian fundamentalist US Government agent hot on their trail, and a sexy Canadian history professor looking for love in all the wrong places, Assassins packs in conspiracy, action, romance and clock-ticking suspense into one thoroughly enjoyable Dan Brown-style yarn. Highly recommended." -- says Angus Donald, bestselling author of The Outlaw Chronicles