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John Wheeler is a man fascinated by memories of his father who, as a younger man, met Harold Lasseter. Lasseter was a mythical outback figure who in the Thirties claimed to have found a great reef of gold.

Wheeler, a mining magnate, searches the central Australian desert around the ultra-secret Pine Gap joint communications facility.

Soon after, he and all his crew are killed in an elaborate plot that at first seems to be terrorism.

In the first book in this three-part series, Kate Austin, a young Federal Police officer reluctantly seconded into the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), discovers their deaths are not terrorism related but are a way of protecting an old secret. The secret is that the Pine Gap base has long been compromised, with its massive intelligence-gathering capabilities open to abuse.

As Kate digs deeper, she manages to trace events back through time, and an incredible history begins to emerge, as it seems that the origins of the current situation go back as far as the Second World War, when a Nazi electronics expert called Kurt Homberg is recruited by old-money families in Switzerland. Kurt and later his son Joseph go on to become leading industrialists supplying the United States and other nations, including Australia, with the most advanced cyber technologies.

Kate’s journey uncovers the relationship between the death of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt and the compromised beginnings of the spy base. In her hunt for the truth, Kate discovers archives of two men, Bastian Wolf and his understudy Jonas, henchmen who have committed many acts of violence. Their archives appear to be her key to understanding who is ultimately behind what appears to be an incredibly expansive ability to hack into and listen to just about anything in electronic form.

 

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