Алистер Маклин: Time of the Assassins

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Алистер Маклин Time of the Assassins
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    Time of the Assassins
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    Боевик / Политический детектив / на английском языке
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Time of the Assassins: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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An Alistair MacLean’s UNACO novel #6 The African state of Zimbala has a new leader, but someone wants him dead – and the only man who knows details of the hit is being hunted by UNACO’s top agent on an illegal mission of personal vengeance. Can UNACO stop their top assassin from killing his nemesis? Alphonse Mobuto has ruled the state of Zimbala for forty-five years. On his death, the Presidency passes to his eldest son, Jamel. Determined to introduce democracy and rid Zimbala of his father’s oppressive regime, Jamel faces retribution from those who once benefited from it. In New York to deliver an important speech at the UN, Jamel is an obvious target for an assassin’s bullet. The time and place of the assassination are known by only one man, Jean Jacque Bernard, an international terrorist and now a CIA operative. Clearly a case for UNACO. But deputy director Serge Kolchinsky realizes he has a potentially explosive situation on his hands. For he discovers crack team member Mike Graham has gone AWOL. Graham is in Beirut on a strictly illegal mission of personal vengeance – to track down and kill Bernard… Fast-paced and compulsive, Time of the Assassins is the fourth novel to be written by Alastair MacNeill from a detailed story outline by Alistair MacLean. Although MacLean died in 1987, it is hoped that his many fans will find that these novels offer the same pace and excitement as the bestsellers by the master himself.

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Alastair MacNeill

Alistair MacLean’s UNACO



Alistair MacLean’s

Time of the Assassins


Alistair MacLean, who died in 1987, was the best-selling author of thirty books, including world famous novels such as The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare. Of the story outlines he was commissioned to write by an American film company in 1977, two, Hostage Tower and Air Force One is Down, were, with Alistair MacLean’s approval, published as novels written by John Denis; these were followed with six by Alastair MacNeill, the highly successful Death Train, Night Watch, Red Alert, Time of the Assassins, Dead Halt and Code Breaker, and two Borrowed Time and Prime Target by Hugh Miller.

Alastair MacNeill


Alastair MacNeill was born in Scotland in 1960. When he was six years old his family emigrated to South Africa, where he showed a growing interest in writing, winning several school competitions. He returned to Britain in 1985 to pursue a full-time writing career. As well as writing seven novels based on MacLean outlines he has written five novels under his own name. He lives in Sheffield.

Time of the Assassins is the sixth title in the UNACO series.


On an undisclosed date in September 1979 the Secretary-General of the United Nations chaired an extraordinary meeting attended by forty-six envoys who represented virtually every country in the world. There was only one point on the agenda: the escalating tide of international crime. Criminals and terrorists were able to strike in one country then flee across its borders, secure in the knowledge that pursuit would breach the sovereignty of neighbouring states. Furthermore, drafting extradition warrants (at least for those countries that had them) was both costly and time-consuming and many contained loopholes that lawyers could exploit to secure their clients’ release. A solution had to be found.

It was agreed to set up an international strike force to operate under the aegis of the United Nations’ Security Council. It would be known as the United Nations Anti-Crime Organization (UNACO). Its objective was to ‘avert, neutralize and/or apprehend individuals or groups engaged in international criminal activities’* Each envoy then submitted a curriculum vitae of a candidate their Government considered suitable for the position of UNACO Director, and the Secretary-General made the final choice.

UNACO’s clandestine existence came into being on 1 March 1980.

*UNACO charter, article 1, paragraph 1c


It was dark by the time he reached his destination. He got out of the taxi, paid the driver, then wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. He had forgotten how humid it could get in Beirut at that time of year. He waited until the taxi had driven off before crossing the road to the Windorah, a small bar run by Dave Jenkins, an Australian who had named it after his birthplace in Queensland. Well, he assumed Jenkins still ran it. He hadn’t been back to Beirut in four years. He pushed open the door and went inside. Nothing had changed. The two large propeller fans still rotated slowly above the room, the prostitutes still mingled with the foreign journalists and Jenkins was still behind the counter. Their eyes met.

Jenkins shook his head in disbelief. ‘Well, I’ll be damned. Mike Graham. What the hell brings you back to Beirut?’

‘Business,’ Graham answered, his eyes flickering slowly around the room.

‘Lookin’ for somebody?’


‘Russell Laidlaw?’

Graham turned back to Jenkins, his eyes narrowed. ‘He told you I was coming?’

Jenkins shook his head. ‘An educated guess, that’s all. He’s the only old friend of yours I know who comes in here every night. What time did he say he’d meet you?’

‘Eight,’ Graham replied, glancing at his watch. It was seven fifty.

‘That’s when he usually gets here. You want a beer while you wait?’

Although Graham rarely touched alcohol, he could do with a beer in the heat. ‘If it’s cold.’

‘Comin’ up,’ Jenkins replied then bent down to open one of the fridges under the counter.

A prostitute caught Graham’s eye but he shook his head before she could get off her bar stool. She gave him an indifferent look then turned her attention to another potential customer.

‘One Budweiser, ice cold,’ Jenkins said, placing the bottle and a glass in front of Graham. He held up a hand when Graham reached for his wallet. ‘It’s on me, Mike.’

‘Thanks,’ Graham said, forcing a quick smile.

‘I was real sorry to hear about what happened to your family, Mike–’

‘I’ll be over there,’ Graham cut in sharply and indicated an empty table in the corner of the room. ‘Tell Russell when he gets here.’

‘Sure,’ Jenkins replied but Graham had already gone. He shrugged then turned his attention to a new customer at the other end of the counter.

Graham crossed to the table and sat down. He was thirty-eight years old with a youthfully handsome face, tousled auburn hair that hung untidily over the collar of his open-necked white shirt and a sturdy, muscular physique which he kept in shape with a daily five-kilometre run followed by a punishing workout in his own private gymnasium.

He had been with UNACO for two years and, despite his maverick tendencies, he was widely regarded by his peers as the best field operative in the organization. It hadn’t always been that way. He was the first to admit that he had been psychologically screwed-up when he joined them after eleven years with the elite American anti-terrorist squad, Delta – a state of mind that had come about as a result of his last Delta mission. The mission had been to penetrate a terrorist base in Libya and eliminate all personnel, which included Salim Al-Makesh, an advisor to the Black June, a movement founded by Abu Nidal in 1976 in protest at the involvement of Syria in the Lebanese civil war, and Jean-Jacques Bernard, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was about to give the order to advance when news reached him that his wife and five-year-old son had been abducted by three masked men outside their apartment in New York. The men spoke Arabic. It had been an attempt to force him to withdraw. He refused and although the base was destroyed, Al-Makesh and Bernard managed to escape. The FBI immediately launched a nation-wide hunt for his family but no trace of them was ever found.

A month later Al-Makesh was killed by Israeli commandos at his home in Damascus. Bernard went into hiding and was only heard of again when news reached the Israeli Mossad that he had been assassinated in a car-bomb attack in Beirut. The information had come from a reliable source and they had no reason to doubt it. Graham remained unconvinced. It had been too easy. Then, the previous day, he received a telephone call that vindicated his years of scepticism…

Laidlaw entered the bar, looked around slowly, then crossed to where Graham was sitting. Graham could hardly believe how much Laidlaw had changed since he had last seen him when they were both still with Delta. Laidlaw had always been the unit’s fitness fanatic, pushing himself to the limit to keep his lean, muscular body in shape. And he had always been so meticulous about his appearance, almost to the point of vanity. Now he was overweight with a bloated, unshaven face and his unwashed brown hair fell untidily onto his hunched shoulders.

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