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Authors: Jeffrey Archer

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Honour Among Thieves

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HONOUR
AMONG THIEVES

 

By

 

JEFFREY
ARCHER

 

 

 

 

Copyright
©Jeffrey Archer 1993

Books by JEFFREY ARCHER

Novels

Not a Penny
More, Not a Penny Less

Shall We Tell
The President?

Kane & Abel

The Prodigal
Daughter

First
Among
Equals

A Matter of
Honor

As the Crow
Flies

Honor
Among
Thieves

The Fourth
Estate

The Eleventh
Commandment

Sons of Fortune

 

Short Stories

A Quiver Full of
Arrows

A Twist in the
Tale

Twelve Red
Herrings

The Collected
Short Stories

To Cut a Long
Story Short

 

Plays

Beyond
Reasonable Doubt

 

Exclusive

The Accused

 

Prison Diaries

Volume One –
Belmarsh: Hell

Volume Two –
Wayland: Purgatory

Volume Three –
North Sea Camp: Heaven

 

Screenplay

Mallory: Walking
off the Map

 

 

Chapter 1

N
EW YORK,
February 15th 1993

ANTONIO
CAVALLI stared intently at the Arab, who he considered looked far too young to
be a Deputy Ambassador.

‘One
hundred million dollars,’ Cavalli said, pronouncing each word slowly and
deliberately, giving them almost reverential respect.

Hamid
Al Obaydi flicked a worry bead across the top of his well-manicured thumb,
making a click that was beginning to irritate Cavalli.

‘One
hundred million is quite acceptable,’ the Deputy Ambassador replied in a
clipped English accent.

Cavalli
nodded. The only thing that worried him about the deal was that Al Obaydi had
made no attempt to bargain, especially as the figure the American had proposed
was double that which he had expected to get. Cavalli had learned from painful
experience not to trust anyone who didn’t bargain. It inevitably meant that
they had no intention of paying in the first place.

‘If
the figure is agreed,’ he said, ‘all that is left to discuss is how and when
the payments will be made.’

The
Deputy Ambassador flicked another worry bead before he nodded.

‘Ten
million dollars to be paid in cash immediately,’ said Cavalli, ‘the remaining
ninety million to be deposited in a Swiss bank account as soon as the contract
has been carried out.’

‘But
what do I get for my first ten million?’ asked the Deputy Ambassador, looking
fixedly at the man whose origins were as hard to hide as his own.

‘Nothing,’
replied Cavalli, although he acknowledged that the Arab had every right to ask.
After all, if Cavalli didn’t honour his side of the bargain, the Deputy
Ambassador had far more to lose than just his government’s money.

Al
Obaydi moved another worry bead, aware that he had little choice – it had taken
him two years just to get an interview with Antonio Cavalli. Meanwhile,
President Clinton had settled into the White House, while his own leader was
growing more and more impatient for revenge. If he didn’t accept Cavalli’s
terms, Al Obaydi knew that the chances of finding anyone else capable of
carrying out the task before July the fourth were about as promising as zero
coming up on a roulette wheel with only one spin left.

Cavalli
looked up at the vast portrait that dominated the wall behind the Deputy
Ambassador’s desk. His first contact with Al Obaydi had been only days after
the war had been concluded. At the time the American had refused to deal with
the Arab, as few people were convinced that the Deputy Ambassador’s leader would
scill be alive by the time a preliminary meeting could be arranged.

As
the months passed, however, it began to look to Cavalli as if his potential
client might survive longer than President Bush. So an exploratory meeting was
agreed.

The
venue selected was the Deputy Ambassador’s office in New York, on East 79th
Street. Despite being a little too public for Cavalli’s taste, it had the
virtue of proving the credentials of the party claiming to be willing to invest
one hundred million dollars in such a daring enterprise.

‘How
would you expect the first ten million to be paid?’ enquired Al Obaydi, as if
he were asking a real estate agent about a down-payment on a small house on the
wrong side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

‘The
entire amount must be handed over in used, unmarked hundred-dollar bills and
deposited with our bankers in Newark, New Jersey,’ said the American, his eyes
narrowing. ‘And Mr Obaydi,’ Cavalli added, ‘I don’t have to remind you that we
have machines that can verify...’

‘You
need have no anxiety about us keeping to our side of the bargain,’ interrupted
Al Obaydi. ‘The money is, as your Western cliche suggests, a mere drop in the
ocean. The only concern I have is whether you are capable of delivering your
part of the agreement.’

‘You
wouldn’t have pressed so hard for this meeting if you doubted we were the right
people for the job,’ retorted Cavalli. ‘But can I be as confident about you
putting together such a large amount of cash at such short notice?’

‘It
may interest you to know, Mr Cavalli,’ replied the Deputy Ambassador, ‘that the
money is already lodged in a safe in the basement of the United Nations
building. After all, no one would expect to find such a vast sum deposited in
the vaults of a bankrupt body.’

The
smile that remained on Al Obaydi’s face indicated that the Arab was pleased
with his little witticism, despite the fact that Cavalli’s lips hadn’t moved.

‘The
ten million will be delivered to your bank by midday tomorrow,’ continued Al
Obaydi as he rose from the table to indicate that, as far he was concerned, the
meeting was concluded. The Deputy Ambassador stretched out his hand and his
visitor reluctantly shook it. Cavalli glanced up once again at the portrait of
Saddam Hussein, turned, and quickly left.

When
Scott Bradley entered the room there was a hush of expectancy.

He
placed his notes on the table in front of him, allowing his eyes to sweep
around the lecture hall. The room was packed with eager young students holding
pens and pencils poised above yellow legal pads.

‘My
name is Scott Bradley,’ said the youngest Professor in the Law School, ‘and
this is to be the first of fourteen lectures on Constitutional Law.’
Seventy-four faces stared down at the tall, somewhat dishevelled man who
obviously hadn’t noticed that the top button of his shirt was missing and who
couldn’t have made up his mind which side to part his hair that morning.

‘I’d
like to begin this first lecture with a personal statement,’ he announced. Some
of the pens and pencils were laid to rest. ‘There are many reasons to practise
law in this country,’ he began, ‘but only one which is worthy of you, and
certainly only one that interests me. It applies to every facet of the law that
you might be interested in pursuing, and it has never been better expressed
than in the engrossed parchment of The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen
United States of America.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That one sentence is
what distinguishes America from every other country on earth.

‘In
some aspects, our nation has progressed mightily since 1776,’ continued the
Professor, still not having referred to his notes as he walked up and down
tugging the lapels of his well-worn Harris tweed jacket, ‘while in others we
have moved rapidly backwards. Each of you in this hall can be part of the next
generation of law makers or law breakers -’ he paused, surveying the silent
gathering, ‘- and you have been granted the greatest gift of all with which to
help make that choice, a first-class mind. When my colleagues and I have
finished with you, you can if you wish go out into the real world and ignore
the Declaration of Independence as if it were worth no more than the parchment
it was written on, outdated and irrelevant in this modern age. Or,’ he
continued, ‘you may choose to benefit society by upholding the law. That is the
course great lawyers take. Bad lawyers, and I do not mean stupid ones, are
those who begin to bend the law, which, I submit, is only a step away from
breaking it. To those of you in this class who wish to pursue such a course I
must advise that I have nothing to teach you, because you are beyond learning.
You are still free to attend my lectures, but “attending” is all you will be
doing.’

The
room was so silent that Scott looked up to check they hadn’t all crept out.
‘Not my words,’ he continued as he stared at the intent faces, ‘but those of
Dean Thomas W. Swan, who lectured in this theatre for the first twenty-seven
years of this century. I see no reason not to repeat his philosophy whenever I
address an incoming class of the Yale Law School.’

The
Professor opened the file in front of him for the first time. ‘Logic,’ he
began, ‘is the science and art of reasoning correctly. No more than common
sense, I hear you say. And nothing so uncommon, Voltaire reminds us. But those
who cry “common sense” are often the same people who are too lazy to train
their minds.

‘Oliver
Wendell Holmes once wrote: “The life of the law has not been logic, it has been
experience.” ‘ The pens and pencils began to scratch furiously across the
yellow pages, and continued to do so for the next fifty minutes.

When
Scott Bradley had come to the end of his lecture, he closed his file, picked up
his notes and marched quickly out of the room. He did not care to indulge
himself by remaining for the sustained applause that had followed his opening
lecture for the past ten years.

Hannah
Kopec had been considered an outsider as well as a loner from the start,
although the latter was often thought by those in authority to be an advantage.

Hannah
had been told that her chances of qualifying were slim, but she had now come
through the toughest part, the twelve-month physical, and although, despite her
background, she had never killed anyone – six of the last eight applicants had
– those in authority were now convinced she was capable of doing so. Hannah
knew she could.

As
the plane lifted off from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for Heathrow, Hannah
pondered once again what had caused a twenty-five-year-old woman at the height
of her career as a model to want to apply to join the Institute for
Intelligence and Special Tasks – better known as Mossad – when she could have
had her pick of a score of rich husbands in a dozen capitals.

Thirty-nine
Scuds had landed on Tel Aviv and Haifa during the Gulf War. Thirteen people had
been killed. Despite much wailing and beating of breasts, no revenge had been
sought by the Israeli Government because of some tough political bargaining by
James Baker, who had assured them that the Coalition forces would finish the
job. The American Secretary of State had failed to fulfil his promise. But
then, as Hannah often reflected, Baker had not lost his entire family in one
night.

The
day she was discharged from hospital, Hannah had immediately applied to join
Mossad. They had been dismissive of her request, assuming she would, in time,
find that the wound healed. Hannah visited the Mossad headquarters every day
for the next two weeks, by which time even they acknowledged that the wound
remained open and, more importantly, was still festering.