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Publishers Since 1838

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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New York, New York 10014

USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China

A Penguin Random House Company

Copyright © 2015 by Sandecker, RLLLP

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cussler, Clive.

The assassin / Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.

p. cm.—(An Isaac Bell adventure ; 8)

ISBN 978-0-698-16967-8

1. Bell, Isaac (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Private investigators—Fiction. 3. Assassins—Fiction. I. Scott, Justin. II. Title.

PS3553.U75A93 2015 2015000642


Endpaper and interior illustrations by Roland Dahlquist

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, or locales is entirely coincidental.



Also by Clive Cussler


Title Page




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8


Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18


Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40


Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45






“Do I hear a train?” asked Spike Hopewell.

“Two trains,” said Bill Matters. The heavy, wet Huff! of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s 2-8-0 freight locomotives carried for miles in the still night air. “They’re on the main line, not here.”

Spike was nervous. It made him talkative. “You know what I keep thinking? John D. Rockefeller locked up the oil business before most people were born.”

“To hell with Rockefeller. To hell with Standard Oil.”

Bill Matters had found their Achilles’ heel. After thirty years fighting the “Standard,” thirty years of getting driven into the mud, he was finally going to break their pipe line monopoly.

Tonight. Under a sky white with stars, in a low-lying hayfield in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Wooded slopes ringed the field. Pennsylvania Railroad tracks crossed it, bridging the dip in the hills on a tall timber trestle.

Spike Hopewell was going along with the scheme, against his better judgment. Bill had always been susceptible to raging brainstorms that verged on delirium, and they were getting worse. Besides, when it came to driving independents out of business, John D. Rockefeller had personally invented every trick in the book.

“Now!” Bill drew his big old Remington six-cylinder and fired a shot in the air.

Whips cracked. Mules heaved in their harness. Freight wagons full of men and material rumbled across the field and under the train trestle—a framework of braced timbers that carried the elevated tracks above the low ground.

Pipe lines that Matters and Hopewell had already laid stopped just inside the woods at either edge of the field. The west trunk stretched two hundred miles over the Allegheny Mountains to Pennsylvania’s oil fields. The east continued one hundred eighty miles to their seaboard refinery in Constable Hook, New Jersey, where oceangoing tank steamers could load their kerosene. Pumps and breakout tanks were installed every thirty miles, and all that remained to join the two halves was this final connection on land they had purchased, under the railroad.

Spike would not shut up. “You know what the president of the Penney said? He said, ‘Imagine the expense I would save on locomotives, Pullman cars, and complaints if only I could melt my passengers and pump them liquefied through pipes like you pump oil.’”

“I was there,” said Matters. In Philadelphia, at Pennsylvania Railroad headquarters high above the Broad Street Station, asking, hat in hand, to lease a right-of-way. The president, high-toned owner of a Main Line estate, had looked down his Paris-educated nose at the oil field rowdies.

“I envy you gentlemen. I would love to own a pipe line.”

Who wouldn’t? Just ask Rockefeller. Shipping crude direct from the well to the refinery beat a train hands down. Instead of laboriously loading and unloading barrels, barges, and tank cars, you simply opened a valve. And that was just the beginning. A pipe line was also a storehouse; you could stockpile crude in your pipes and tanks until supply dropped and the price rose. You could lend

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