A Covert-One novel
Harper Collins, £16.99 (hardback)

Robert Ludlum and Philip Shelby have teamed up to produce this year's most electrifying novel as Dr Jon Smith returns to save the world in the second of the Covert-One series.

Covert-One, the top-secret agency, learns of a deadly advancement in biological warfare. Persons, as yet unknown, have stolen a smallpox sample, and imported it from Russia to the United States, with the aim of altering it to render all known vaccines impotent – the perfect battlefield weapon.

The treason spans three continents and goes to the highest levels of some of the United States' most respected government agencies. Smith quickly learns that foes are aplenty and friends are thin on the ground. Who's involved, who isn't? And who can he trust to help him in the mammoth task of saving all mankind from a gruesome end?

Well written, fast-paced and full of suspense 'The Cassandra Compact' is a brilliant, if psychologically terrifying novel – especially in the current political climate. All the clichés ever written apply: the latest Covert-One novel is an unputdownable page-turner and possibly the best novel I have read this year – explosive!

Joanne Ahern