A Jean Termonde Novel
For the two French knights, Sir Jean and Sir Maurice, the twist of fate began with a request from the French crown to use their past experience with the Avignon popes to persuade the present pope to pay taxes. Their success led to their French trade mission to Italy and interface with the leaders of the city-states. Sir Maurice was instructed by Duke Chatillon, his father, to follow in his footsteps leading to the mayoral position of a French city. Sir Jean was nominated for the role of French ambassador to Italy stationed in Rome. In his unique and intuitive fashion, he became embroiled with dangers and intrigues including Italian city-states vying for territory, a battle royal for control of southern Italy led by an Avignon pope-sponsored French force, the war with England, and the pirate threat in the Mediterranean. He winds up navigating the turbulence with tact and daring initiatives with the aid of Sir Maurice, a dashing English captain turned French privateer, a legendary mercenary, a Roman cardinal, and a schooled spy.
The Missing Factor
A Jim Factor Novel
Jim Factor is a successful arms dealer living in Southern California with clients in Europe and customers in the Middle East. A recent client, Carlos Sengretti, phones Factor and tells him he is marked for death due to their discovered illegal arms deal by Mikhail Borichov, a Bulgaria arm dealer.
Factor barely escapes to San Francisco where he starts a new life with a new identity. His distraught wife Diane hires Adam Weatherly, a cunning and relentless private detective who tracks Jim to San Francisco and is in turn followed by Borichov’s Russian mafia hit team. Factor finds work at a marina prepares for an eventual confrontation learning martial arts and Spanish, and acquiring counterfeit ID. He becomes friends with Chris Muncie, his martial acts instructor.
Weatherly uncovers Factor’s new passport identity and finds him. Borichov flies to San Francisco and gets directly involved with his hit team who is trying to find Factor. Jim, Chris and Weatherly soon come together and confront the Russians in a bloody gun battle on Alcatraz Island where Borichov and the hit team are killed. Factor discovers he’s still in danger and flees to Spain. He seeks closure by meeting with Dimitri Federov, the Russian mafia head, who places him in charge of Cortex, Borichov’s former Bulgarian arms company. In Bulgaria, a Russian mafia territorial dispute places Factor in another gun battle where he must fight with Chris, Adam and Federov at his side to not only survive but have a chance to regain his former life.
Two inventive and audacious men separated by 700 years.
One incomparable treasure, hidden for centuries.
A legendary mystery waiting to be solved.
Though born a peasant in the middle of the 14th century, Jean Termonde’s uncommon intelligence and courage has enabled him to rise above his station to become a knight. Brought to the notice of a high-ranking Cardinal, Sir Jean’s new position is to provide security for the Papal city of Avignon, France and the vast treasury at the Palace of the Popes. When the Pope decides to move the Papacy back to Rome in 1377, noting the treasure is at risk in the chaotic time following the decision, the resourceful Sir Jean devises an ingenious hiding place until it can be safely transferred to the Vatican. The treasure never arrives in Rome.
Seven centuries later, antique book collector and seller Jim Pearce acquires rare volumes for unscrupulous but well-heeled clients. His background in the arts may be important but his experience with the U.S. Army Investigative Services was invaluable. He coolly dispatches two heavily-armed thugs who try to steal a rare 14th century volume on the Avignon Papacy. When he receives an offer of $10 million from reclusive billionaire John D. Baxter shortly thereafter to steal an ancient 14th century volume from the Vatican Secret Archives, he suspects the legend of the lost treasure. His interest is piqued and, with his equally talented French partner, Maurice Germain, an audacious plan begins to emerge whereby he will penetrate the Vatican’s defenses, get to the Secret Archives, exchange a clever forgery, and escape unseen. It calls for boldness, timing, disguises and an incredible use of remote-controlled helicopters. They become aware that Baxter’s men, the New Scotland Yard, and the French police are now in play as well.
Once the volume is taken, they hold on and enlist the help of a French scholar, Dr. John St. Rouffignac. A letter written by Sir Jean Termonde to his Cardinal tells of the location in an odd riddle. A climax occurs at the Avignon Palace of the Popes where Pierce uses both his ability to decipher the cryptic riddle and intricate maneuvering to extract the treasure from under Baxter’s vigilance while at the same time framing him for the theft.
Now, with the immense wealth in their hands, Pierce has to wrestle with the decision of its disposal noting Baxter remains a threat, giving the historic value of the collection, and honoring the memory of the steadfast Sir Jean Termonde.