David Stone Books























New York Times Bestseller David Stone

The Orpheus Deception

The Orpheus Deception HardcoverThe Orpheus Deception Paperback

David Stone's

The Orpheus Deception

"The Orpheus Deception - the sequel to The Echelon Vendetta - starts with an attempted assassination on the rainy streets of Venice that sets Micah Dalton on a collision course with a vengeful Serbian warlord. Dalton's search for his Serbian attackers ultimately snares him in a tangled web of conspiracies as he tries to uncover the linkages between an act of brutal piracy in the South China Sea, a missing CIA agent, the disappearance of an Italian police officer, and the real nature of an elusive hospital ship known only as The Orpheus, a pursuit that leads Dalton from Venice to Bangkok to Washington DC and finally to a violent confrontation with Serbian terrorists in The Port of Chicago as Dalton unlocks the shattering secret that lies beneath The Orpheus Deception."

Read the Story Behind the Story

An Excerpt from The Orpheus Deception:

Venice …

After the killings Dalton went to Venice, where the rain fell for two days and three nights, a hard slicing torrent, and under it the threat of worse things coming, the deep hard cold of the Venetian winter. At first light, unable to sleep, he had watched as a swirling mist rose up around the boats out on Saint Mark's Basin. By noon the Palladian façade of the San Giorgio Maggiore across the lagoon was little more than a formless white blur. Dalton stared at his own reflection in the window of the suite – colorless eyes deep-set in a haggard face, his long blond hair limp and gray in the half-light, his cheeks sunken and seamed. He drew in a lung-full of acrid smoke, breathed it out in a harsh exhalation, erasing his reflection in a cloud of blue smoke.
Cora. Cora Vasari.
She kept a little study in the Museo Civico, overlooking the Piazza San Marco, where she liked to revise and sharpen her lectures before going back to the academy in Florence in late November. He'd called her number from a pay phone next to the equestrian statue of Garibaldi only thirty minutes ago. She had answered the phone herself. He had listened to her slow and steady breathing for thirty seconds, knowing that anything he said in the clear could trigger a voice-recognition relay at Crypto City. But her … closeness … her presence, held him fast. After a full minute, Cora had spoken, in a whisper, only six words: 
Micah, do not come to Venice.
Too late for that, Cora, he thought. I’m already here.
Dalton poured a final glass of champagne, drained the crystal flute and set it carefully down on the window ledge. He stubbed out his cigarette, shoved the Ruger into his shoulder holster, gave the suite one last look, and went out onto the crowded quay, pushing through the milling crush of oblivious tourists. The city was full to overflowing, even this late in the season; everyone had come to watch the Venice Marathon. They'd put a wooden boardwalk across the Grand Canal, a novelty and therefore an atrocity. Venice had its air of jaded carnival in place, although the streets were running with gray water and the sky was low and sodden. He had to butt and shoulder his way through the cheering crowds lining the marathon route, moving right along the edges of the runner's lanes, heading west along the Riva degli Schiavoni – the quay of slaves - towards the Piazza San Marco.
Reflexively, automatically, he searched each face in the throng, scanned every roof-line, looking for something wrong; a fixed glare, a look that was a little too intense, eyes suddenly averted, a half-seen figure stepping back into a doorway as he bulled his way along the quay. But there was nothing: just the rain, the rank sewage smell of the flooding canals, the purring murmur of vaporettos and water taxis out on the fog-shrouded basin, the pressing crowds, the crush of runners pelting past his left shoulder.
In the middle of the crossing near the Bridge of Sighs, his attention zeroed on the faces of the people streaming toward him, he was struck suddenly, forcefully, from behind, struck hard enough to knock him reeling into the balustrade, almost hard enough to send him over the edge into the canal below. He slammed into the stone ledge, turned and saw a skinny blond girl in runner's shorts and a dripping tunic with a number on the back – number 559. She was glaring at him, her hard red mouth twisted. She hissed something at him in a language he could not understand – not Italian – and he opened his mouth to say something equally stinging in reply, but no sound came, only a bright red spike of agony deep in his ribs. He fingered the area and doubled over as he found a sharp searing pain.
The bitch had cracked his ribs. Dalton, whose temper was never far from the surface, began to stumble after the blonde runner, breathing through thinned lips, indignant outrage driving him, but she was quickly lost in the crush of a hundred other runners flowing around him, their feet pounding and thudding, the air thick with the animal reek of their urine and their sweat, their rapid panting breaths, and now Dalton was caught up in the flow of the marathon, carried along the quay like a leaf in a flood, staggering, his ribs sending jagged bolts of pain up into his chest. As the press of runners turned the corner by the inner cloister of the Palazzo Ducale he was finally cast out of the stream and into a narrow cloister. He put a hand on a pillar and rested there for a moment, his chest heaving, his cracked rib burning in his side, cursing, miserable – he looked angrily around for the blonde runner 
…… and there was Cora. Tall, her black hair flying in the wind-driven rain, her long blue trench-coat flapping: she was hesitating by the steps of the Basilica, a sheaf of papers in her arms, watching the runners flowing around her, the pigeons swirling up like leaves. The piazza was packed with thousands of people and filled with a vast roaring thunderous cheering, wave after wave. He could hardly hear his own voice calling her name.
Cora heard a call, turned then, searching the sea of faces. Finally, she found him, a flash of recognition – a fleeting smile – and then her expression changed into shock as she looked down at his hands ...