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Meet the Gaijin, Japanese for outsider. He’s the enigmatic Rupert de Jongh. An English aristocrat so fanatically obsessed by Japan that he betrays his country and becomes one of Japan’s top intelligence agents during World War II. Now as the Gaijin he’s become the most powerful figure in Japanese organized crime, controlling that country’s largest yakuza mob. He wields power with absolute energy, maintaining his position through force and terror. He controls a sordid network of drug dealing, sex trafficking, prostitution and murder. He possesses discipline, intuition and in all things acts with unwavering self assurance. He acknowledges no will but his own and is as brutal as his needs require.

He makes his first trip outside of Japan in years, a secret visit to Hawaii for talks with new American allies. But on a Honolulu beach he encounters an old enemy. She’s Alexis Bendor, widowed and now running a rare books store. Near the end of World War II, when she was America’s best cryptologist, Alexis was sent to Europe.

Her mission: crack the Gaijin’s code, then kill him. Instead the Gaijin captured her. She was brutally tortured but managed to escape.

On the beach the two lock eyes. Few westerners know that de Jongh still lives. He’s a wanted war criminal. This old woman can destroy him. He has no choice but to kill her.

But to do so he must confront Alexis' son Simon, ex-CIA assassin and professional thief - a brilliant martial artist who only feels alive when he's taking risks.

JULY 1983

Alexis Bendor sensed danger.

When she awoke from her nightmare it was almost dawn.

She looked through the sliding glass doors of her bedroom at a rain forest of ferns and giant philodendrons. Something familiar. Just the thing to pull her from the horrors of a bad dream....

Alexis sat up in bed. Sixty-three years old and getting crackbrained in her old age. Of course she was alone.

The nightmare, her worst in years, had been about Rupert de Jongh. Even wide awake her heart wouldn't stop pounding. Her hand shook as it touched the pulse on the right side of her neck. Lord above. It was positively throbbing.

With the back of her hand she stroked the smooth old scar tissue where her right ear used to be. She flinched at the pain. You'd think the wound was still healing.

A shrink would have said, "My advice to you, Mrs. Bendor is to stop dredging up memories from the black storehouse in your mind. I recommend several sessions at $150. Guaranteed to cure what ails you."

The rain stopped. Alexis looked through the glass doors at dozens of birds now rising from the rain forest to soar against a rust-colored sky. Wings snapping, the doves flew from under the sun deck and pursued the flock. Four doves. Four was the number of agents in Alexis's spy team in February 1945, the year the nightmare had begun.

Copyright © 1986 by Marc Olden