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The Trojan Sea

A Novel

The Trojan Sea by Richard Herman
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There is a new order to the world. The first female president of the United States sits in the White House. Monster corporations wield the real global power. And all the old rules have changed.

From Richard Herman, whom Clive Cussler calls "one of the best adventure writers around" and the Denver Post places "on a par with Tom Clancy," comes a spellbinding new novel of intrigue, politics, deception, murder, and the bloody manipulation of world events for the sake of pure profit.

Beautiful and brilliant, Lee Justine (L.J.) Ellis is, at thirty-eight, the youngest CEO ever of a major oil corporation. Ruthless, charismatic, greedy, and philanthropic, she is a strange dichotomy of positive and negative, a driven crusader on a god-given mission. And now she owns something worth killing for: secret knowledge of vast, untapped reserves of oil right in America's backyard ... beneath the territorial waters of a sworn enemy ... Cuba. It is a prize she must capture at any cost.

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Stuart is the most average of men. A military functionary toiling in bureaucratic tedium, he could never hope to live up to the legendary reputation of his father -- one of the great air force fighter pilots -- so he is resigned to serving his country in his own quiet way. But in his daily war of figures and on-screen data, Stuart notices an unusual pattern of oil tanker movement and he dutifully reports it to his superiors. Suddenly Mike Stuart's ordinary life starts spinning dangerously out of control.

A series of seemingly random "accidents" and narrow escapes -- all explainable and unremarkable, except for the number of them -- puts him on the alert. But when his ex-wife and her lover are killed in Stuart's car, he realizes that his growing paranoia is frighteningly justified. There are powerful forces closing in on one inconspicuous man, trapping him in the wide flung net of a devastating conspiracy that could brutally change the political face of a hemisphere, bring a government down in flames and chaos ... and take the life of America's's president.

Now Mike Stuart is being called upon to defend his nation in ways he never imagined. And his sole chance for success -- and survivals to become something he has never been: a warrior.

HarperCollins; June 2009
480 pages; ISBN 9780061956058
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Title: The Trojan Sea
Author: Richard Herman

Chapter One

Dallas, Texas

Ann Silton and Clarissa Jones sat in a comer of the large two-room suite in the Regency Hotel as the convention's executive committee gathered for a late-afternoon meeting. Neither woman wanted to be at this particular meeting, and both had their arms and legs tightly crossed, sending an unmistakable signal. But they had no choice. Front Uni, the latest and largest coalition of environmentalist groups, was on a roll, growing daily in power and influence. The unbelievable success of the convention was a tribute to John Frobisher, the brains and organizing force behind Front Uni.

"I told John," Ann said, "that we have no business talking to her just because she happens to be available." Ann shot a hard look across the room and speared John Frobisher, hoping he would get the message. Clarissa, the younger of the two, followed Ann's lead and tried to emulate her stare. But Clarissa only managed to look doe-eyed, sweet, and naive, a reflection of her true nature.

"Why did we even hold the convention here?" Clarissa asked.

"Because John got an excellent deal and the hotel offered us the conference rooms free of charge. It was too good to turn down."

Clarissa gave a pretty shake of her long blond hair. "Well," she conceded, "the rooms are very nice. And I love the big bathroom with all the towels and free toiletries."

"It's too nice for what we're paying," Ann muttered, going even deeper into her mental defensive crouch. Another thought came to her. "I wonder if she had anything to do with all this?" They fell silent when the subject of their conversation walked in.

Although Ann and Clarissa had seen Lee Justine Ellis on TV, they were not prepared for the sheer physical presence of the woman. L.J., as she liked to be called, simply devoured a room by the force of pure charisma. For Ann it hurt even more. She and L.J. were both thirty-eight years old, but L.J. looked ten years younger. L.J. was tall, with a mass of naturally curly, dark-blond hair pulled into a loose bundle at the base of her neck. She was wearing a man's white shirt with rolled-up sleeves, loose-fitting jeans that hinted at her trim figure, and cowboy boots that made her long legs seem even longer.

At first glance her shirt and jeans looked as if they came off the rack at some bargain-basement sale. In reality the custom-tailored shirt cost three hundred dollars and the jeans over six hundred dollars. A connoisseur of Western wear would have recognized her cowboy boots immediately and guessed their value at over fifteen hundred dollars. He would have been half right. Lee Justine Ellis was a masterpiece of the kind of casual, down-home understatement that only the very wealthy can afford and the very beautiful carry off. And with her blue eyes, high cheekbones, and perfect mouth, she was drop-dead gorgeous.

"She's not wearing a bra," Clarissa whispered. "Look at John. He's all but stepping on his tongue."

"It's not his tongue he's stepping on," Ann said, feeling squat and dowdy.

John Frobisher introduced L.J. to the five other members of Front Uni's executive committee. "I think you all know who Miss Ellis is." The environmentalists nodded in unison. L.J. was the president and chairman of the board of RayTex Oil, a small but feisty oil company she had inherited upon the death of her father. Many environmentalists shared the belief -- it was part of Ann and Clarissa's private mantra -- that any oil company was inherently evil and had to be destroyed to save the world. For the two women, Lee Justine Ellis was a beautiful incarnation of Lucifer himself.

L.J. gave Frobisher a warm look, studying his features. His shaggy, prematurely gray hair and pudgy body reminded her of the teddy bear she'd loved as a child. Like most women, she had an irresistible urge to cuddle him. But there was more to it. Like a good general, L.J. had scrutinized the opposition and dissected the environmentalist movement. John Frobisher was a political operative and on the upper end of the environmentalist food chain. He was a savvy lobbyist and wore a suit and tie. He also understood the process of change and believed in engaging the enemy in a constructive dialogue, which was why he had invited L.J. in the first place. Of the four groups that made up Front Uni, he represented the one faction L.J. feared. But at the same time she respected him for what he was. And there was that teddy bear image that touched a childhood memory.

Ann and Clarissa were from Greenpeace, the revenue-generating machine and propagandists of the movement. But Greenpeace was running out of steam and hadn't had a win since the "Save the Whales" campaign. They desperately needed an issue that looked good on a bumper sticker and would rally the faithful -- and shake loose their checkbooks.

Of the three other men, two were scientists. They did the real work of the movement and dealt in the truth, which would never translate to a bumper sticker. Because they were complex, rational, and legitimate thinkers, they were never mentioned by the media. The last man was from Earth First. He was a true believer and an ecoterrorist not above spiking trees in old-growth forests or sabotaging oil refineries.

"I hope you're enjoying Dallas," L.J. said. She pulled up a chair and sat down next to the two women. The four men hurried to join her, forming a tight but casual circle in one comer of the room. L.J. crossed her legs and leaned forward. She clasped her hands and gave a little smile that was both timorous and half apologetic. "It is nice of..."

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