ENEMY AT THE GATES

The CIA asks Rapp to protect Nicholas Ward, the first trillionaire ever, who has big plans for improving the planet. In the coming decades, Ward’s technologies will help make Saudi oil worthless. And with Dr. David Chism, he hopes to transform health care worldwide. In a lab in Uganda, Chism is working on creating a single vaccine that could wipe out the entire coronavirus category: no Covid-19, no SARS, no colds. These damn do-gooders are unquestionably an existential threat to the general world order, and the Saudis want them gone. Ruthless U.S. President Anthony Cook is down with that. “The human race can’t absorb that many fundamental changes all at once,” he opines. So the Saudis, with secret encouragement from Cook, hire the crazed warlord Gideon Auma, aka God’s representative on Earth, to neutralize David Chism and stop the research. “Bullets can’t harm me,” Auma brags, and his followers believe him. Soon Chism’s research facility in Uganda is a pile of ashes, and Auma even sees a chance to kidnap Ward, who’d funded the lab. But Ward didn’t make a trillion dollars by just giving up when things turn ugly. President Cook is angry that Rapp is interfering, saving lives and stuff. Indeed, the first lady calls Rapp “the guy every man wants to be.” He lives in South Africa these days, but his loyalty to his homeland is steadfast. When a Saudi considers torturing the hero, he asks, “Do you know your weakness, Mitch?…It’s your unwavering belief in America.” That’s wrong, of course, because Rapp has no obvious weaknesses. Even so, he and his protectees have many powerful and capable enemies. He’s not the edgiest protagonist ever, but he’s hard to kill and easy to root for.

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