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Robert Marcus
Robert Marcus

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The Far Side of Silence, a 94,000 word thriller, opens when Air Force One is shot down over the Mediterranean Sea and U.S. President Douglas is apparently killed.  Alexander Gray, an ex-Navy Seal, is given orders by the new president, Theodore Anderson, to proceed to the Sigonella Naval Air Station on Sicily to ensure the success of a clandestine and experimental operation to save the life of Russian President Borzov, the man most Americans believe to be responsible for the downing of Air Force One.  Using his many skills as a former SEAL and medical school dropout, Gray proceeds undercover to Sigonella to take his place on the operating team.   Antagonistic forces within the U.S. government and elsewhere are determined to prevent him from arriving there, and all his considerable talents are needed just to survive his journey to the base.  Before he leaves Washington, in an attempt to discover who is directing the opposition, he visits an old girlfriend, Allison Edgers, who works for the CIA.  He discovers, to his dismay that he still cares for her.

His challenges are just beginning.  There are secrets within secrets. The experimental operation is designed to bring about Borzov’s neurologic recovery so that he is able to resume his job and work with new President Anderson to prevent a takeover by hawks in the Russian government.  If Borzov’s enemies think him incapacitated, they will make their move while he is still in no position to stop them.

Caught between unknown forces of rogue Americans and Russian agents, Gray must overcome sabotage and murder to save his patient.  And that’s before the operation even begins.

During this time word leaks out in Washington, D.C. that Borzov is being operated on at Sigonella.  Senator Thomas Springer, who has his goals set on the White House for the next election, applies pressure to Anderson.  He implies war is imminent because hawks in the Kremlin are demanding Borzov back.  Impeachment looms for Anderson.

As the operation team assembles in Sigonella, unsolved murders occur, though Gray’s arrival flushes out two rogue CIA agents who manage to kill the lead neurosurgeon for the operation.  But Gray quickly figures out they weren’t the main threat, and under his guidance the operation proceeds, and is successful, though attempts to kill the president continue during the postoperative period.  As Gray protects President Douglas during his recovery, his previous girlfriend Allison Edgers is sent to Sigonella to help an undercover assassin trap Gray.  But Gray’s investigations allow him to identify the assassin and dispose of him eventually, though Allison is apparently murdered and Gray becomes the prime suspect.   As the president slowly recovers under Gray’s protection, Gray also learns that a group of terrorists have stolen an Israeli missile boat full of cruise missiles, one of which has a nuclear warhead.

The terrorists attack both a Russian and an American destroyer two hundred miles east of Sigonella, sinking the Russian one, pushing the world close to war.  Gray, notified that the missile boat is now headed to Sigonella, manages to get his patient on a helicopter and escape Sigonella before it is destroyed by the nuclear missile, though Gray is severely injured.

In Washington, Senator Springer attends the impeachment of President Anderson.  Confident of winning, Springer is pleased with his chances of being the next elected President of the United States.  His joy is short-lived, when Alexander Gray appears with word that the operation had been successful at Sigonella and that Borzov has retained control of Russia, evading the coup of the hawks in his government.