Title: White Death
Author: Ted Bell
Alex Hawke is tracking one of the world’s most powerful villains high in the Swiss Alps. A powerful Swiss banker is found dead, frozen at the base of a soaring Alp. When a second man, the head of a rival banking empire, is found dead deep inside a mountain cave, MI6 suspects a bizarre conspiracy. Vast sums may have been plundered from the Queen of England’s accounts. The British royal family’s centuries-old Swiss bank holdings are at risk, shaking the foundations of Her Majesty’s government and the monarchy itself. Sir David Trulove, Chief of British Intelligence (MI6) tasks his most formidable weapon, Alex Hawke, with investigating the horrific murders. In Switzerland, Hawke and Ambrose Congreve of Scotland Yard are pulled into a tangled web of international intrigue, deceit, and murder. China and Russia are the prime suspects, and these powerful forces will stop at nothing to protect their secrets. A mysterious figure known as “The Sorcerer” has long been rumored to reside within an impenetrable fortress inside a mountain complex in the Swiss Alps known as “White Death.” Hawke must scale perilous heights and breach the fortifications at the top of the world…and find the Sorcerer-or die trying. Includes a sneak preview from Patriot, the exhilarating new Alex Hawke adventure.
Some climber he’d never know had left him a lifeline. Trying desperately to subdue his mounting panic on the deadliest mountain in the Swiss Alps, Christian was shamelessly grabbing the old rope whenever it was visible, nearly paralyzed with fear. Any slip now would send him plummeting to the bottom of the wall, eight thousand feet of free fall with no chute and no god to save him.
He went higher, foolishly holding his breath to calm an anxiety he’d never known before. He started thinking that his much vaunted confidence had put him up here. And now that the same cocksure attitude he’d always had about life was going to send him to his death. He could almost feel his confidence, long his mainstay, seeping out through his pores.
He went higher, looking for each new shred of frayed rope, literally grasping at straws.
The whole spectrum of the face was in atrocious condition, far worse than he’d expected. It was plastered with rime and loaded with unstable snow. He was shit out of luck. There was nowhere left to go—he saw the rope! He lunged for it and that’s when he made the worst mistake of his short life. He made a single misstep. Both of his two ice axes and the crampons on his boots sheared out of the rotten ice at the same moment.
He found himself airborne, the wind tearing at his clothes as he hurtled downward.
They say time slows down just before you die. That you revisit all the important scenes from your life, like a movie. It’s all bullshit. You fall off a mountain top and three seconds later you’re a bug on the windshield of life…
Ted Bell, former Writer-in-Residence, Cambridge University, was Chairman of the board and World-Wide Creative Director of Young & Rubicam, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Hawke, Assasin, Pirate, Spy, Tsar, Warlord and Phantom, along with a series of YA adventure novels.