Published by: 47North
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Buy the Book: Amazon, Books-A-Million
In the Ultimate Act of Cyber Warfare, Will America Be Reduced to Dust by Mysterious Hackers?
America’s worst nightmare has come true: a “cyber–Pearl Harbor” attack by unknown terrorists has crippled the nation’s power grid—and brought the land of the free to its knees. As widespread panic and violence ravage the country, its ruthless captors issue their ultimatums—and vow an apocalyptic reckoning.
A defenseless nation scrambles to fight an invisible invasion. Chief among America’s last line of defense is Lana Elkins, head of a major cyber-security company—and former top NSA operative—who returns to her roots to spearhead the Agency’s frantic efforts to combat the enemy’s onslaught on its own terms. While she and her superiors take action to infiltrate a terrorist hotbed overseas, much closer to home ruthless jihadists with a nuclear bomb hijack a busload of schoolchildren—including Lana’s daughter—and race toward a rendezvous with Armageddon in America’s greatest city.
With Lethal Code, Thomas Waite raises the international techno-thriller to dangerously exciting levels—introducing a valiant new action heroine, and initiating a series that brings a harrowing new edge of realism to sensational speculative fiction.
"Taut, tense, and provocative, this frighteningly knowing cyber-thriller will keep you turning pages—not only to devour the fast-paced fiction, but to worry about how much is terrifyingly true."
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Truth Be Told
"Lethal Code is not just an outstanding, harrowing thriller about a massive cyber attack against the United States, it is based on the very real cyber threats we face today and should serve as a wake-up call to all Americans. As the president and CEO of a cyber security firm, I can tell you that Waite has done his homework.”
—Corey Thomas, President and CEO of Rapid7
“Lethal Code is a compelling and well researched thriller about a major cyber attack against America. Waite’s characters bring to life the very real cyber vulnerabilities we face every day and demonstrate that America’s cyber insecurity is a serious national security issue.”
—Melissa Hathaway, former cyber advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, now President of Hathaway Global Strategies
"No matter what you do or where you live, a massive cyber attack against the United States will impact your life. That's what Waite demonstrates so convincingly in Lethal Code. He shows us the effect a hit to the country's solar plexus would have with a tale that will leave you gasping for days, whether you're a business person or a private citizen concerned about our nation's defense vulnerabilities."
—David DeWalt, Chairman and CEO of the network security company FireEye
Lana inched toward a railroad overpass, stunned when she failed to find a single radio station after scanning the dial. All she heard were those sirens. The radio’s silence was yet another bad sign.
A shadow fell over her, and she realized she was under the trestle.
More stop-and-go eased her back into the bright sunlight. She found herself drumming the steering wheel.
Still moving slowly, she came to a stop on a slight rise about two hundred feet beyond the crossing. Seconds later, a horrendous screech of train brakes turned her attention to her rear view mirror. An Amtrak Acela Express was heading straight toward a Norfolk Southern locomotive with a long line of freight cars, including fuel and ammonia tankers.
Lana strangled the steering wheel when the two trains collided thunderously. The Amtrak slid toward the railing. The steel bent like licorice. Astounded, Lana watched the engine car tumble slowly over the edge of the concrete overpass. Passenger cars twisted off the rails one by one, flattening automobiles and SUVs across all four lanes.
She could no longer avoid acknowledging her worst suspicions because they had just become tragically clear: The grid’s down. After all our warnings.
Much of the work she did every day—often involving developing counterespionage measures against Chinese hackers—was meant to avert this very crisis: not just losing the grid, but all the devastation that would entail. It was unfolding before her very eyes.
The crushed nose of the Norfolk Southern locomotive pointed toward the ongoing tragedy, as if it were content to merely peer into the abyss. But not for long: the engine car broke through the demolished railing and also began to fall.
Lana saw a mother with an infant race out from under its shadow. But a man tangled in a seatbelt made it only halfway out of his big pickup before he was crushed to death.
Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom.
Cars on both trains slammed down from the elevated tracks in a perversely syncopated series of terrifying crashes.
Lana heard a lone scream, horrific and piercing—followed quickly by scores of others.
Then the explosions began.