At Any Cost
Book 13 now available for PRE-ORDER!
Coming February 6th
Greece is burning and Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis is determined to save his country from disaster.
Chief Inspector Kaldis is initially dismayed to be asked to investigate a series of suspicious forest fires that took place last summer. In Greece, forest fires are an inevitability, and he fears he and his team are being set up to take the political blame for this year’s blazes.
He quickly becomes suspicious, though, that the forests were torched for profit—and for a project on a far grander scale than the usual low-level business corruption. There are whispers on the wind that shadowy foreign powers intend to establish a surreptitious mega-internet presence on the island of Syros, with the intent to weaponize the digital world to their own dark ends.
Can Kaldis and his team stop the hostile foreign takeover of the idyllic island—or will the rise of the metaverse set not just Greece, but the whole world, on fire?
He regarded himself as a swashbuckling pirate awash in Mediterranean adventures. Part Errol Flynn, part Johnny Depp, and part good old Jacob Diamantopoulos. Trouble was, Jacob lived in Brooklyn, and the only boat he’d ever been on was the Staten Island Ferry, an experience that still haunted him.
One lunchtime, on a warm and gusty mid-October day, Jacob’s mother had showed up at his third-grade classroom to take him for what she promised would be ‘an adventure on the high seas.’ It was the first anniversary of his father’s death from a heart attack, and his mother decided that the two of them should spend the afternoon visiting her sister-in-law on Staten Island. Normally his mother took the bus, but today she decided it would be more fun for eight-year-old Jacob if they went by ferry.
An uneventful fifty-minute subway trip from Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach brought them to Manhattan’s South Ferry, where they boarded the largest vessel in the fleet for the five-mile journey across a choppy New York Harbor to Staten Island. Jacob had never seen a boat that big up close. It stood longer than a football field and could hold 6,000 passengers, though only a quarter of that many people had joined this crossing.
As the ferry approached Staten Island’s St George terminal, his mother hurried them forward on the main deck to be among the first to disembark. ‘We’re almost there,’ she said, bending down to kiss the top of his head.
He knew nothing about boats, so he didn’t bother to ask why the ferry hadn’t slowed down.
That unasked question was answered a moment later when the Andrew J. Barberi slammed into a concrete pier that ripped through the ferry’s main deck on the starboard side, trapping hundreds of passengers in piles of broken glass, twisted metal, and splintered wood, while others leaped overboard into the sea.
The impact hurled Jacob away from his mother and buried him under the pile of bodies flung forward behind him. He struggled to breathe, shouting all the while for his mother. All he heard were the screams and moans of the bloodied and dying surrounding him. He never knew how long he lay trapped before rescuers reached him.
Seventy passengers were injured that day.
Including his mother.
Never again had he set foot upon a boat.
© Jeffrey Siger