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The Lucifer Network
By Geoffrey Archer

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The Lucifer Network
By Geoffrey Archer
Charnwood Large Print Edition, (2002)
ISBN: 0-7089-9341-9
Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 24, 2002

Sam Packer is an MI6 agent, who a year previously, had been involved in a coup to overthrow the government of Bodanga, in Africa. The coup misfired, resulted in the death of thousands of innocent civilians. Now Packer is back in Africa, cleaning up a loose end. The loose end in question is one, Harry Jackman, a death merchant that Packer had used to purchase the guns needed for the coup.

Packer soon finds himself with a pack of trouble when Jackman is murdered, and Packer is fingered as the murder. TO make matters worse, Packer reaches Jackman just before dies and hears a horrifying confession. Jackman had helped a terrorist group obtain a deadly weapon called Red Mercury. But before he can tell Packer anything more, he dies.

Red Mercury is thought to be a mythical weapon's grade material. Yet, whether or not the material Jackman helped ship was Red Mercury, someone wants it bad enough to kill for it - and on more than one occasion. As intelligence agencies around the world ponder how to track down the material, they come to the conclusion that whatever it is: nuclear, biological, or chemical, it is most likely a weapon of mass destruction. This point is made all too clear when it becomes apparent that Jackman had a hand in disposing of five atomic demolition munitions that disappeared from Russia. Each weapon has ten kilotons of explosive power. Could this be the Red Mercury that everyone is looking for?

Packer's hunt for the missing shipment is complicated by his acquaintance with Julie, Jackman's daughter. Julie, a virologist, is the unwitting owner of information about her father's gunrunning who becomes a central figure in Packers investigation. Even after she breaks his cover by exposing him to the newspapers as 'her father's killer' he is still attracted to her. True to form, Packer finds that he spends more time thinking with a part of his anatomy other than his brain.

Another problem faced by Packer in this thrilling epic is that his father, the submariner Trevor Patrick Packer, has been 'outed' as a Russian spy. Packer doubts that this Intel is valid, nonetheless he sets out to learn the truth - one way or the other. And he has to do it fast because the agency has already been embarrassed by Julie's leak to the press that Packer was 'their' agent. Should it also come out that his father was a Russian spy, Packer could well find himself without a job, or worse, eliminated.

In The Lucifer Network, Geoffrey Archer has created a spine tingling tale of suspense, which is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of numerous subplots that are artfully interwoven amidst the main story. Thus creating a three dimensional, and very believable story of intrigue and deceit. Sam Packer is not a 'perfect' hero, and it is these very flaws that make him such a compelling character. From beginning to end, The Lucifer Network will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Packer as he attempts to save the world...

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