When a seemingly untraceable hacker infiltrates the e-mail accounts of the President of the United States and three top Cabinet members, Washington’s inner circle is suddenly on high alert. The hacker, “Janus,” leaves behind a disturbing series of messages, warning of a devastating “natural” disaster that will cripple the United States if unspecified demands are not met. Unaware of the impending crisis, investigative journalist Jon Mallory is handed a list of names of people who died or disappeared, all apparently linked by a shared knowledge. He recognizes one name on the list – a duplicitous Chinese computer scientist named Xiao-Ping Chen, also known by the code name Janus. When the source who passed Mallory this list goes missing, Mallory realizes that he, too, is now unwittingly connected to this deadly chain. Fearing for his life, Jon seeks out his brother, an ex-CIA case officer and private intelligence contractor now living a reclusive life under an assumed name. Agreeing to return to Washington, Charles Malory begins to unravel a massive deception—and a threat that goes beyond “Janus” and the infiltration of top-secret e-mail accounts.
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