- Author: Clive Cussler
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ALSO BY CLIVE CUSSLER
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The assassin / Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.
p. cm.—(An Isaac Bell adventure ; 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
BOOK ONE | BULLETS
BOOK TWO | POISON
BOOK THREE | GAS
BOOK FOUR | THUNDERBOLT
“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