Authors: Anton Gill
Tags: #Fiction, #Thrillers, #Suspense
Anton Gill was born in London and educated at Chigwell School and Clare College, Cambridge. He has written on a wide range of subjects, especially contemporary European history, and published a series of thrillers set in ancient Egypt. Until recently, he has divided his time between London and Paris, but now makes his home in London again.
with thanks for his
friendship and support;
11–16 September 2010,
Istanbul, the Present
Brad Adkins looked around the lab. He couldn’t disguise his tension from the others and knew they were feeling it too.
They’d been working on the dig at Istanbul for three weeks now and they still hadn’t found what they had been sent to look for. And time was running out.
The lab looked tidy enough to leave for the night, thought Adkins, watching his two colleagues carefully placing the boxes in the white cupboards ranged along one wall.
He turned to the deck of computer screens on the broad table and switched them off, one by one, methodically checking that all the information input that day had been properly saved. His colleagues had finished before him, and stood watching. Su-Lin, he thought, looked anxious to leave, but he refused to be hurried by the junior member of his team, even if she was there by order of their main sponsor.
‘Almost done,’ he said. Quite a dish, Su-Lin, but that’d be hunting a bit too close to home, and he didn’t want to spoil the close professional rapport which the work on this project had created between the three of them. And God knows they needed it, he thought, given the pressure. He wondered how soon it would be before people would begin to get impatient.
‘Let’s get out of here,’ said his Yale colleague, Rick Taylor. ‘Another dead day – it’s time to drown it out.’ Adkins reached for the switch on the final screen. Taylor was hitting the bottle hard these days. He’d keep an eye on that. Taylor was right – they’d had another fruitless search. He tried to stay hopeful, but every day confirmed his growing suspicion that what they sought simply wasn’t there. He glanced again at Su-Lin. Impassive now, she looked at her watch.
Adkins flicked off the last button. But as he drew his hand back and the screen went blank the door to the lab crashed violently open.
Five men in black, faces hidden by balaclavas, burst in, followed by a thin man and a plump woman dressed like tourists, wearing sunglasses large enough to cover their features.
It was the woman who spoke. English accent. Cut-glass. Polite.
‘Sorry to disturb. We have some questions for you.’
‘Who the hell are –?’
One of the men stepped forward and clubbed Taylor to the ground. He lay there without moving.