Yuri Danko, a deep-cover Russian asset for Covert-One, is on the run. His last communication was a cryptic and urgent plea for extraction. With no hint of what could have driven Danko to such extreme action, operative Jon Smith is sent to the pre-arranged meeting place in Venice to bring Danko out. Days later, Danko arrives at the rendezvous - but before he can reveal what he knows, he is ripped apart by a spray of assassins' bullets.
With only some scant clues left behind by Danko to go on, John Smith quickly concludes that someone is out to do the unthinkable: steal a sample of smallpox from Russia's cache of bioweapons. The deadliest of viruses, if a new mutation of smallpox were developed and released, it could cause an epidemic of unparalleled destruction.
Working to stop the theft, Covert-One finds the adversaries are several steps ahead of them. The virus is smuggled out of Russia to the United States. Now Jon Smith and his colleagues must unravel the mystery of the Cassandra Compact, overcome their powerful and invisible opponents, and recover or destroy the virus - before the power of Armageddon falls into the hands of a madman.
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