$26.95 | buy the book
President Bill Clinton
A former soldier turned movie star turned spy must stop a catastrophic nuclear weapons deal.
This gripping thriller from Thomas Caplan propels readers around the globe—from Hollywood to Rome, the Black Sea to the Mediterranean—and to the very brink of nuclear abyss.
The novel's charismatic hero, former covert operative Ty Hunter, has become, almost by accident, the number one film star in the world. When he is recruited on a clandestine mission to thwart the transfer of nuclear warheads into rogue hands, he must deploy every skill he has as an actor, soldier, and spy. Donning his fame as a disguise, Ty matches wits and muscle with the enigmatic billionaire Ian Santal and his nefarious protégé Philip Frost—two supremely sophisticated adversaries—even as he falls in love with the entrancing young woman closest to them both, the jewelry designer Isabella Cavill.
In prose that is both elegant and powerful, The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen gives us a breakneck parable of good and evil—and a hero in the tradition of James Bond and Jason Bourne, who is sure to become an icon of the genre.
Thomas Caplan, a founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, is the author of three previous novels, Line of Chance, Parallelogram, and Grace and Favor. He lives in Maryland.
At a quarter past six, on the advice of the hotel's enthusiastic young concierge, Ty took a car not directly to the southernmost quay, from which Surpass's tender was to depart thirty minutes later, but into the village of Antibes itself, where he strolled the narrow, cobbled main street as many of its shops were closing. With his baseball cap and Ray Ban Wayfarers on and his pace quick he was not recognized until he reached a café just short of the harbor side parking area. There he took one of the bent wire chairs at a round table for two near the front. The café's powder blue shutters had been folded back and the salt air and the scent of ripe cheese from the fromagerie across the street were delicious. Lingering over a citron pressé, Ty watched the curious parade of locals and tourists, of French and North Africans, Americans, Russians and more exotic foreign nationals that passed before him. Because no one expected to see him no one appeared to, which was, by now, a familiar dynamic as well as one for which he was thankful. Of all the things that had marked his life before he had become famous he missed anonymity the most. Not always, but often, certainly now. He missed youth, too, but no man could hold onto that very long. Anonymity was different. You had to give it away and once you had the deal could not be undone until time had faded the public's memory of you or you were no longer, in the flesh, the man the camera had once captured.
He kept an eye on his watch and, with ten minutes to spare, paid the bill and made his way toward the tender, past the berths of a dozen mega-yachts, each with security men stationed at their sterns. Several had welcome mats bearing their ship's name spread out at the edge of the dock, but there was more suspicion than welcome in these sentries' gazes as he passed. To Ty's right, beyond the old stone harbor fortification, the sea was flecked with gold dust as the sun declined toward the Atlantic. At anchor in the distance lay Surpass, its cobalt hull and white bulwarks commanding deference.
To Ty's surprise there was no one else waiting on the pebbled concrete landing, nor was any tender in sight at a quarter to seven, the time he had been assured by Greg's text message it would depart. He had, he realized, half-expected the prostitutes from the pontoon, a paunchy, hirsute, balding producer or two in their wake. At the Vanity Fair party, even on lounges beside the pool a few hours earlier, there had been any number of stars and moguls, not to mention eager starlets, who might conceivably reappear, champagne in hand, at a party aboard one of the world's most formidable motor yachts. But where were they? They couldn't all be coming directly from Cannes. Beyond the sea wall only a few boats were in motion, all too large to function as tenders. Ty studied each one in the distance. Only the longest of them, a streamlined cigarette, appeared headed toward the quay, but it was far way. It was moving fast, though, and he trained his eye on it as it sped across the harbor like a sword upon the water at an incautious, no doubt unlawful rate of speed.
A few minutes later its captain shut down its engines and thereafter it seemed to glide alongside the stepped-down landing as if propelled by wind and current alone. The boat was at least fifty feet in length, with a sleek, low cabin beneath its bullet-like bow and a large aft-deck. Its captain managed it with single-handed artfulness, looping but one stern line over a weathered cleat to hold it momentarily in place.
"Mr. Hunter?" the captain inquired in a voice—soft, feminine and English—Ty had not anticipated. "Of course, you are. Will you come aboard, please?"
No sooner had Ty found his footing in the cockpit than the captain pulled in the line she had so deftly thrown, re-started the high performance engines and headed, at a less furious clip, for open water.
"I'm confused," Ty told her a few seconds later, as he approached the helm. For a craft of its size and power this one was unnaturally quiet.
The captain turned toward him, a glint in her wide but wily green eyes. "By this boat," she asked, "by me, or by the fact that there aren't any other people?"
"All three, but I suppose it might be simplest to start with the last."
"They were all asked for seven-thirty. Once we're aboard Surpass one of the crew will take this boat back to the landing and collect them."
"One of the crew?" Ty inquired. "The way you say that -"
"Rather than me, though I could be one of them. I've certainly had enough experience."
"If you're not one of the crew, who are you?"
"Isabella Cavill," she said, as she extended her hand. "In theory, the party you're on your way to is being given for me." She removed the captain's cap she had been wearing, letting her long auburn hair fall from it.
"In theory?" Ty repeated, memorizing the scene.
"It's hardly a secret that my godfather is a man of many simultaneous motives."
"Your godfather is Ian Santal?'
"He is," she said. The edges of her hair were now wet with sea spray and she shook her head, lifting her face to the light.
from The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen