|Suddenly, the rides at Disney World malfunction causing harm to numerous visitors, a Russian nuclear submarine fires on an American cruise ship almost igniting an international incident, and a Nobel Prize winner for artificial intelligence commits suicide, perhaps as a result of mind control. What links all of these events? Could it be the start of Cyber War 1? Who or what is this "Phantom" - an evil presence that can be felt but not seen?
Add in super intellectual villain Darius, former child prodigy with special knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and everything Einstein. Darius, quadriplegic since birth, moves about in a specially designed hovercraft and with his personally designed supercomputer, Perseus, who is nearing the capability of The Singularity – when machine intelligence matches human intelligence and is capable of one hundred trillion calculations per second.
Is it possible for Alexander Hawke, British Secret Service agent of MI 6 and now 33 years old, to match wits with Darius and Perseus? This could be Hawke's most difficult mission ever.
Hawke has personal issues to deal with as well. In the opening gambit, Hawke discovers that Anastasia Korsakova, the daughter of the Tsar, presumed dead, is possibly being held in a Siberian Prison. Further, Anastasia and Alex may have a son (indeed they do – Alexei now three years old). Hawke travels to Siberia and walks up to the most heavily guarded installation in all of Russia and asks to speak with General Kuragin (somewhat implausible, but most entertaining).
After a brief interrogation and torture, Kuragin and Hawke meet (they had worked together in a prior episode) and some of the backstory of prior novels is revealed. Hawke and Putin shared a cell together. Hawke saved Putin's life by killing the Tsar (thinking at the same time he had killed Anastasia). Alex, crushed after his long journey, prepares to leave Siberia when he is handed his son as he boards the train to St. Petersburg
Ted Bell includes familiar characters like Stokely Jones, a former Navy Seal and NFL linebacker and Fancha, an international songstress and Stokely's wife. Putin continues to play a prominent and most interesting role as does the new US President. Nell Spooner, who is Alexei's very special English nanny, is new to The Phantom.
Man vs. Machine, Mind Control, and Hawke's personal issues with the Tsarists make The Phantom a great read with non-stop action. A little science fiction, a little James Bond and a lot of Ted Bell make this seventh installation of the Alex Hawke series a must read. Sit down with a restorative cocktail and enjoy!