Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole "Tox" Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that's fine--he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.
Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers--and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they're not just fighting a plague--but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.
With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem--but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?
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Conspiracy of Silence
By Ronie Kendig
Baker Publishing GroupCopyright © 2016 Ronie Kendig
All rights reserved.
— TEN DAYS AGO — JEBEL AL-LAWZ, TABUK PROVINCE, SAUDI ARABIA
Vindication tasted like sweat. Backbreaking, limb-aching sweat. Tzivia Khalon pushed onto her knees and used the back of her gloved hand to wipe away the perspiration plastering her hair to her face and neck. She needed a break. In the logbook, she recorded her progress, sketched what the B23 grid site resembled, then stood and started for the sorting tent.
Noel Garelli, her assistant, looked up from B20. "Giving up?"
Tzivia snorted. "In your dreams." Though they'd all thought about it. Two weeks onsite, and they'd uncovered nothing of significance, nothing directly connected to the Bronze Age or the Israelites. But there was no way she'd walk away so soon. Dig sites could go from mundane to extraordinary in the space of an inch.
Just an inch. I just need an inch. Just 25.4 millimeters to clear her résumé of the Kafr al-Ayn disaster three years ago, when a toxin from an artifact stolen from her mentor, Dr. Joseph Cathey, nearly wiped out a village. The president of the United States had been killed in the aftermath. Despite being cleared of negligence and wrongdoing, Tzivia bore the dent in her reputation from that incident. It had endangered grants. Stalled donations.
Jebel al-Lawz was her chance to expunge that humiliating experience from her life. One amazing find, and she would be sought after. Respected. She wouldn't let anything or anyone ruin this chance. Not even her nosy brother in the States. Or his brooding, handsome friend, Tox Russell.
Tzivia huffed. Tox had died three years ago. It still stung. Not to mention the way he'd shut her out when they arrested him. Told her to move on. "It's for your own good."
She had moved on — she was now Doctor Tzivia Khalon. Had it not been for the weight Dr. Cathey's name carried, Kafr al-Ayn could've destroyed her career and life. But being an authority on Ancient Near Eastern studies, he pulled a few strings and had them cleared of misconduct. When she compared her resume against his, she might as well be in kindergarten. Her focus had strictly been Ancient Near East, but Dr. Cathey had degrees in Hebrew Bible and semitic epigraphy as well as Ancient Near Eastern Studies. With two doctorates, he now served as an adjunct professor with Oxford's Oriel College.
She scanned the archaeological dig site. Her site. With the help of Dr. Cathey, they'd won the grant to search for answers about Jebel al-Lawz, the land purportedly where the Israelites had encamped. Gaining the permission of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to work this site hadn't been easy, but the promise of cooperation and sharing all artifacts got her team onsite. Having Dr. Cathey backing the dig gave her clearance to even be here, gave the dig credibility, and provided her with an authority who could review any recovered artifacts.
Years ago, the Saudis had erected a fence with a guard hut around this area to keep out looters and vandals. They believed something significant happened here, and she shared that belief, though she wouldn't fall prey again to Dr. Cathey's religious ideals — that was his one detraction. Or should she call it "distraction"? He believed the Bible to be more than a piece of literature. He believed Moses had been here. That the blackened mountain in the distance was where the Hebrew patriarch received the Ten Commandments.
Many scholars refuted the site. Some had outright called her desperate for coming here. Supernaturally carved tablets or not, she and her team would attempt to answer whether this site truly was the biblical Mount Sinai.
"Just one inch," Tzivia whispered as she pivoted.
Earth gave way beneath her feet. Rocks scraped and clawed her legs, yanking her downward. With a scream, she shielded her face.
Terror grabbed her by the throat. Dirt and rocks smothered her face.
Then didn't. She felt the world fall away. Coldness wrapped her tight in the split second before she thudded to a stop.
Pain slammed into her back. She landed, staring up at the hole. It seemed impossibly small for her to have fallen through. Dirt dribbled into her eyes. She jerked away, peeling off the ground. Her hand suctioned against mud. Mud? This arid region wasn't exactly fertile terrain. She squinted around. To the left, a short, two-foot-high stone circle. Worn, broken boards straddled the stones.
Water rippled. Water! The stones encircled the lip of a well.
Wiping muddy hands on her tactical pants, she climbed to her feet. Before her — she froze. Mud bricks laid out in a consistent pattern. A wall? She bent, her fingers tracing the mortar that had formed through the years between the bricks. No, not years — centuries!
"Here," she called, waving a hand behind her but unable to take her eyes off the wall. Something protruded from the ground at the base. Gloves back on, she gently brushed aside the silt. "Noel, c'mere!"
"Sending a rope down."
Tzivia followed the lower edge of the wall with her gloved finger. How far back did it go? Bricks crumbled at her touch. Her heart climbed into her throat as years of history were reduced to rubble and dust. "No no no." She drew back her hand, afraid to create any more damage before it could be logged. Afraid she'd undo the miracle just discovered.
The wall stood about six feet tall. What was this place? A dwelling? It didn't look right for Bronze Age. Her hope dimmed. She shifted and checked right and left. It stretched the entire length of the underground cave.
But there was a well here. So ... Tzivia stepped back a few paces. Took in the wall. What's behind you? She went to her knees. Shoulder to the wet ground, she peered into the new hole. Darkness. She yanked the torch from her hip holster and flashed it into the darkness.
Light stabbed the ebony blanket beyond. Dust particles danced in the beam. A room!
As another section of wall gave way, Tzivia shoved back and turned away. Coughing, she blinked quickly to clear her eyes.
"I'm okay," she said around another cough. "We need to stabilize this. It's all damp and collapsing. My cave-in must've weakened the supports or something." A sweet, pungent odor filled the tunnel, nauseating her. "Ugh."
"Look out below," Noel called.
With a hefty thump, a rope ladder dangled behind Tzivia. Noel's frame filled the hole topside. Once down, he screwed up his face. "What is that smell? It reeks!" He steadied the ladder as Basil, one of the interns, clambered down, too.
Flashlight in hand, Tzivia wiped her face. Something caught her eye in the darkened room. She froze. Something had moved. A dark shape. Shadow? Tilting her head, she bent over the partially destroyed wall and sucked in a breath at what she saw. Dust caught in her throat and made her cough. Basil started coughing, too.
"Should we go back up?" Noel asked, his lanky frame towering over her.
"The air's stale, but we'll be okay for a few more minutes." Tzivia pointed. "Look." Shoved up against the far side of the earthen room sat a chest, maybe two feet by two feet. Frayed rope handles didn't look like they'd hold its weight. "Come on." They climbed over the crumbled wall, causing more of it to collapse. She cringed at the damage but allowed the lure of discovery to lead her on.
"I'm not feeling so great," Basil muttered as they squatted.
"There's something stamped in the lid." She wasn't ready to admit it looked like a Templar cross. "Let's get it to the sorting tent."
Noel nodded, grabbing the sides of the chest. He lifted it.
"No!" Tzivia cried as the bottom fell away.
Three objects hit the ground.
Sucking in a disbelieving breath, she lifted one of the items in her gloved hand. "Noel!" Exhilaration spiraled through her veins as Basil aimed his flashlight at it. "I think ... this is a Hebrew miktereth." Though most censers were made of pottery, these were bronze and roughly six inches in length, with a handle supporting a small cuplike space for the burning incense. She traced the markings. A giddy laugh surged as she looked at the other two censers on the ground. "I can't be sure of the date down here — it's too dark and we need to test scrapings — but they look Bronze Age."
"But ... bronze?" Noel asked, pointing to the metal censer.
"True." Most miktereths of this age were made of pottery. "Except...."
"Did we find it?" Noel's voice was but a whisper. "Please, tell me we found it — this is where the Israelites camped, isn't it?"
She laughed, looking up at him with history in her hand. "I believe we did."
* * *
— TWO DAYS AGO —OKOMU FOREST RESERVE, EDO STATE, NIGERIA
"If you do this thing, do not think I will come save you."
Slinking through the humid jungle, Cole "Tox" Russell almost grinned at the words of his "conscience" vibrating in his comms piece. "If you're right," he subvocalized, leaning against a tree and scanning the dense vegetation through his thermal binoculars, "there won't be anything to save."
"It is a bad idea." His own personal Jiminy Cricket came in the form of a six-foot-five Nigerian named Chijioke Okorie.
"It'd be boring if it wasn't. Remember, three minutes." Their self-imposed assurance that no tangos came out of there alive.
Ambush. They'd agreed the probability was high. As in more likely than not. Enough to tell anyone with half a brain not to engage. But Tox was missing that half. This half had him stalking through the jungle because of a twelve-year-old girl. No way could he sit back on the savannah, watching cheetahs outrun gazelle, knowing his niece, Evie Russell, was in the hands of sadistic guerillas.
Not after the promise he'd made in a pool of blood.
So here he was, shirt soaked to his chest and boots rubbing blisters into his ankles and toes, working his way north to the camp. Wiping away the sweat, he scanned the forest, alert. Nerves thrumming.
"It is not safe, Ndidi," Chiji huffed.
Tox nodded to no one but himself. His friend had it right — this wasn't safe. In fact, it could end his life. But securing the objective would fulfill that promise.
He glanced up at the canopy, where fading sunlight poked through defiantly. Sweat slipped down his temple, traced his jaw, and raced along his neck. This had to be done. And even with the calloused warning of no help from his friend, Tox knew Chiji would come. Tox had made the mistake once of thinking Chiji only warred with Bible verses. He could still feel the thwack of the stick across his back, unprepared for the skilled kali strike that face-planted him in the West African desert.
Skulking, Tox made his way around the tree trunks. The guerillas had made it too easy and too obvious. Yep, a trap. Within a few hours of the hovel he called home — where he'd managed to stay hidden for the last three years — and Evie just happens to end up held hostage by some rogue outfit with connections to DC?
Despite the infinitesimal possibility that Evie was actually here, Tox couldn't ignore it. Could not risk the potential threat against her life.
"Two targets, twenty yards north of your position," Chiji said from his nest in one of the tree houses overlooking this narrow swath of forest. Tox bet the national park hadn't imagined their perches for bird watching and appreciating the unique environment would come in handy as the vantage point for a mission.
Tox moved east to flank the targets. This was stupid. Really stupid. Anyone setting him up would also know it was stupid to try. He wanted to believe nobody was asinine enough to play chicken with the life of a child. Especially not with him involved. He'd more than earned his "Toxic" moniker.
The sound of breaking branches sent Tox into the buttresses of a nearby kapok, its gnarled roots looking like the foot of a monstrous dog, nails digging into the soil. Shoulder pressed to the trunk, he peered around, keeping his movements slow and fluid as the palmate branches swaying above. Nothing sudden to draw attention. Using his legs, he pushed up.
A shadow moved.
He dropped, locked onto the target. Was there only one? Prostrate, he keyed his mic. "Count?"
Only one? Tox stared through the heavy forestation at the shape. Why weren't there more? He could take out this tango and nobody would know. He was almost insulted.
Regardless — no need to waste a life. Tox slid south around the kapok buttresses. Swiftly darted westward, directly into the path of the perimeter guards.
The ten-meter base of the trees and their root system made navigating the area tricky. But also assisted him. Trip alarms would be more visible. The placement more obvious. Tox hiked up on the thick buttress of another kapok. From the larger limbs hung bulbous seedpods surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fiber much like cotton. Resistant to water but highly flammable. He skirted from one buttress to another, using the roots to protect himself from trip sensors, and watched the thick trunks for higher-placed sensors.
Bark spat at him.
Tox dropped to the ground, unholstering his Clock 22.
"You've been spotted."
Understatement of the year. Since the enemy knew he was here, no need for skulking. Tox hunch-ran along the perimeter. After several switchbacks, he was hopeful he'd lost the guard who'd spotted him.
A dozen yards ahead, the outer rim of the camp they'd reconned with the long-range scope Chiji now used finally came into view. Beyond it, a hastily assembled, thatched-roof squat sat beneath a massive kapok, ripe with fruit. Good protection and cover. But within the building — cement. At least two feet thick. Too formidable to get thermals and heat signatures. Security had been tight. He'd have preferred bribing a local to get eyes on the target, but time didn't allow that. Their timeline had been way too short.
"Moving in," he subvocalized, switching his gun for his KA-BAR Kraton-handled Mark I with a serrated edge. He rushed up behind the first sentry, who was armed with an M16 and a handgun, hooked an arm around his neck, and severed his carotid. Tox lowered the guard. A boot knife glinted.
Tox slung the assault rifle and pistol into the dense foliage. He tucked the knife in his boot. The crunching of twigs pushed him into a low crouch. The thick stench of cigarettes polluted the air. Didn't these two know smoking got them executed by Boko Haram? By Tox Russell, too.
He slipped behind a tree and took aim, aware that even silenced shots could be heard. No choice. He eased back the trigger. Fired two shots at the first man, taking him down. He acquired the second and neutralized him before the guy could figure out what was happening and call for help.
"Two more en route," Chiji warned.
Tox scurried forward, ready to silence them. When their forest camo came into view, he launched himself at the first soldier. Slammed a hard right into his nose. Heard the bone crack, ramming into gray matter. He spun to the second —
A weapon muzzle stared back. Tox stilled for a half second, then hooked the man's leg and swept him off his feet.
The bullet went wide as the man's head hit a buttress with a sickening thud. His neck lay at an awkward angle. Tangos neutralized, Tox sprinted toward the structure. Inside, he'd be on his own. Chiji couldn't guide him.
He stared at the door that hung awkwardly to the side. It's a trap.
But if it wasn't ...
"Going in." Tox slid his M4A1 around to his front and took in a quick, measuring breath. Blew it out. Shimmied around the wall.
Then lifted a flashbang from his belt, pulled the pin, and tossed it through the space where the flimsy door gaped.
He jerked back. Waited.
Shouts preceded the concussive boom by two seconds.
Tox rushed in. Went right. Scanned the scene as he moved to the corner for protection. The interior served one function — to conceal the cement shelter. A small table with knocked-over tin cups was the only barrier between him and two disoriented guards. Hands over their ears, they writhed. Tox put them out of their misery.
"Two tangos down," he muttered, swinging around so his back wasn't to anyone entering the hut. His gaze hit a steel door. Moment of truth. Who was behind Door #1? He slid along the wall and palmed the handle.
Excerpted from Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig. Copyright © 2016 Ronie Kendig. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Amazing book! Action, romance, history, faith, awesomeness! I couldn't put it down.
How nice to read a book not filled with profanity, etc. and yet, action packed and so enjoyable.I liked getting to know the characters and the way they got along with each other. looking forward to others in the series. Sandi B/MT
This book is an intense, emotionally charged suspense that is hard to put down. Ronie Kendig is an amazing storyteller and Conspiracy of Silence is full of action and danger with the story based on biblical history, in particular surrounding the Hebrew people. Cole "Tox" Russell is back in action and brings his former special forces team together for a mission dealing with a mysterious illness that has the potential of infecting a huge part of the population. Team member Ram is of Jewish heritage and his expertise is of utmost importance. His sister Tzivia, an archaeologist, is working a dig in Saudi Arabia where the toxins of the illness is exposed. This story takes us on a wild adventure from one part of the world to another where the team members and associates are put in danger at every turn. Faith and a little romance is woven into this highly entertaining story.
Can I give this book SIX STARS?!?!?! What a thriller of a book! It's extremely well-written with a wonderfully tightly woven plot that merges the supernatural with history/historical legend and happenings recorded in the Old Testament, a hoard of fabulous characters, a heady romance, plenty of action, drama, intrigue, and mystery, and a good dose of faith thrown in! Ronie Kendig really knows how to suck a reader in and not let go. She writes action-packed scenes that play out like a movie...then in the next chapter, goes deep into her characters' pasts and emotional reserves to twist and churn the reader's heart. The melding of the supernatural (a carry-over from the prequel Warrior's Seal along with more explanation), the passage from the book of Numbers in the Old Testament, and history/legend behind the most revered text of Judaism is absolutely breath-taking. The intricately-pieced details in the plot that all fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle in the end blew me away. I really enjoyed the quiet but tangible Christian faith portrayed through Haven/Kasey, Chiji, and the professor. I also enjoyed the steady and unshakable faith of Ram, who supplied much of the history of Judaism. Oh, goodness....and the characters!!! How can the reader not fall in love with Tox? He's such a warrior, loyal to the core and yet such a little boy inside who's been hurting for so long, just wanting approval and love. And Haven....a beautiful, sweet, constant, and patient woman who believes in Tox no matter what....and refuses to call him Tox, but always addresses him as Cole (his given name). Throw in a fantastic set of secondary characters who completes the team hunting down an assassin and a cure for a virus and we have a book that can't be put down. Tzivia, Ram, and Levi changed and matured throughout the book, which was a pleasant surprise since they're not the main characters....and makes me wonder if these three will have bigger roles in the next book. And Chiji, Tox's Nigerian "brother", is such an awesome character. I would like to see more of him! Truly this book kept me on the edge of my couch the whole time I was reading. Now I'm heading to The Crown of Souls, the next book in the series! Can't you feel my excitement and anticipation?!?!?! I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing via a Goodreads giveaway. I was not required to provide a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Oh My Goodness! This book was so full of action and suspense I didn't want to put it down! When Ronie Kendig writes a hero in a book she really puts them through the ringer. Special Forces Operator Tox and FBI agent Kasey, survived so much! Wow, I'm glad I'm not one of her characters. Sizzling arrows, car crashes, gun shots, explosions, cave-ins, and the Black Plague; these were just a bit of what Kendig's characters had to deal with. As well as fighting against time and the many agencies hot on their tails, they also had to guard the secrets of Biblical and cultural history. Fortunately for Tox and Kasey, they had the help of Tox's old team and a few other colorful characters. If you want to read a book packed full of intrigue, suspense, action, drama, military struggles, and just a bit of romance, then this is the book for you! You won't be able to breathe deeply until the end, but it will be worth it. I highly recommend reading the book. Pick it up and start on the adventure of your life
Addictive!!! Once I started reading this book, I could not stop! Everything about it is fascinating. From Jewish history and archaeology to subterfuge and a life threatening virus, it's one long adrenaline ride and I loved it! Kendig just gets better and better. She is a master at delving deep into story and creating characters that you will love and hate. I highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary military suspense. I was gifted a copy of the book with no expectation of a review. All thoughts are freely given and my honest opinion.
I felt like this book jumped in on these people's lives in the middle. There was so much going on in their past, that it was difficult to understand why they interacted the way they did. I looked it up and discovered that while this book is the first in the series, there is actually a prequel. Perhaps if I had read that I would have been able to get into the book easier. Having been already familiar with the characters might have also helped me keep everyone straight since there were a lot of characters. If you want to try to read this book, you should start with the prequel. I was turned off by it though and don't think I'll continue reading the series.
Ronie Kendig has done an amazing job of telling a story with multiple threads and keeping it all straight. As I progressed through the book, I would wonder how certain things could possibly tie into the rest of the story. But like watching a building being built, the threads start coming together as the author adds layer upon layer. Of course, Ronie is a master of suspense, so much of the action suddenly comes at you seemingly out of nowhere. It is on you before you know it and then you look back and realize how things were building up to that moment. And the reader cannot help but wonder if events like this are taking place in the real world. When dealing with politicians, the military, various government agencies, foreign powers, and the enemies of freedom, we may never know all that is happening which we know nothing about. The title is quite appropriate as the various characters seem bent on keeping secrets through their silence. Throughout the book, the descriptions of the action, the setting, and the characters makes the reader feel like you are right there in the thick of it all. Whew! What a relief that it was all happening in a book rather than all around me. One other thing that enhanced the book was the interaction of the key characters about matters of faith. Some were devoted Christians and others were unbelievers. They were able to relate to each other without either making the other feel less of a person because of their beliefs, but they did not hold back in expressing them. In spite of the silence in other matters, they held no secrets about their beliefs. What a lesson that many in modern society need to learn.
Deb’s Dozen: A Conspiracy of Silence Could Mean the End of the Known Civilization Ronie Kendig’s Conspiracy of Silence presents an interesting thesis: what would happen if an ancient curse were unleashed on the modern world? The first book in The Tox Files, Conspiracy of Silence brings back our hero from the prequel, Tox Russell. His actions have estranged him from his team, his family, and his country. He has been in exile and left alone. But now his country needs him back. A strange plague has broken out in the Mideast and the President (Tox’s brother) wants him back in action to find and eliminate the threat. When a team is sent to retrieve Tox, he eludes them and then shows up in his brother’s office–easily eluding the security systems in place to protect the President. Tox is able to reunite his team and they are off to the Middleast along with an FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes, and an archeologist, Tzivia Khalon, the sister of one of the members of the team. They travel the globe searching for answers but are blocked near the location of the outbreak. Why? What has caused the plague? Why do these people want to keep the source a secret? Tox Russell is a complex character but very believable. Kendig has the knack of creating heroes who are flawed but endearing. The romantic interests are believable but restrained. The secondary characters are fleshed out and each are unique personalities. In the Tox Files, Ronie has created a modern-day speculative series of intrigue and mystery. Ronie Kendig is a prolific author with several awards to her credit. As an army brat, Kendig has drawn most of her series from her experiences with various branches of the military. You will enjoy any of her books you read, especially my favorite, her series about service dogs, A Breed Apart. Bethany House gave me a copy of Conspiracy of Silence, but I was in no way obligated to write a favorable review.
Conspiracy of Silence is the first book in The Tox Files and it’s not for the weak! There’s nonstop action and suspense. It’s my first of Ronie Kendig’s books and I’m hooked for sure. Her writing is unique in that her books easily appeal to both men and woman. And its fodder for action junkies. I fell in love with Cole “Tox” Russell. He’s tough as nails, fights like a madman, and has incredible family, sacrificial conviction. Tox is the hero that too often is also the government’s scapegoat. His commitment has cost him friendship, trust and a normal life. Yet, when given the option, he jumps right back into it. He’s fabulous. Chiji is my favorite character. He knows exactly how to talk to Tox, to get him to reason, and to kick him in the shorts when necessary. Totally reminds me of The Blacklist’s Raymond Reddington and Dembe Zuma. FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes, is brilliant. She’s trained to watch for clues that most folks would miss. I loved reading her analysis of the characters’ behavior. The book not only kept my attention, it kept me up at night because I couldn’t stop reading. Ronie Kendig offers a never-ending thrill ride. It’s fast paced and intense. Her descriptions of combat are so graphic you can taste it! Conspiracy of Silence has it all. Romance. Intrigue. Biowarfare. History. Military. Characters. Plots. It’s fabulous. I received the book from Bethany House Publishers. https://wordynerdyblog.wordpress.com/2017-book-reviews/conspiracy-of-silence/
Oh my gosh, guys! I loved this military thriller with hints of romance. Ronie Kendig has made her place in fiction with novels that have high octane military action, and Conspiracy of Silence is a FANTASTIC addition. This novel has political overtones, Biblical archaeology threads, and the military, globe-jumping pacing. There is a fantastic, reluctant team that comes together to try to stop a global plague from spreading. This plague may have ties to the Old Testament, but it's spreading and they have to find a way to stop it before it makes the Black Plague look like a small killer. I love the action in Conspiracy of Silence. As someone who grew up reading Tom Clancy, it all strikes me as realistic, hard-hitting, and can't-put-me-down intense. The whispers of romance were light enough to give a moment to breathe without feeling forced. And the team dynamic of the group was pitch perfect. They didn't all get along all the time, but what team does? Conspiracy of Silence can also feel like you're part of a globe trotting escapade as you race around the world with Tox's team. I appreciated that this story stood alone, but also cannot wait for the next installment. This book is perfect for those who love page-turning thrillers with heart.
This is book one in The Tox Files, however you must read the prequel, The Warrior's Seal, to completely understand and not be lost from the get go. This is not an easy read, you will need to focus on what is going on and will probably still get a bit lost, but it will all start making more sense eventually. I fell in love with all the main characters in this novel and look forward to reading more from this series. It is full of action, suspense, mystery, history and some romance. Kendig always does a great job at grabbing your interest from the beginning and keeping it till the end, while still keeping you hanging in their for the next one in the series. This is not my favorite of Kendig but it is still a good read, and I look forward to reading the next novel in this series. Cole 'Tox' Russell is a complex man. He has a past that he must deal with and an uncertain future. Tox has much to deal with in this novel, with family, associates, a plague, and assassins. Each man on his team has a personality all their own and I look forward to getting to know them all better.
Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig Tox, a special ops soldier, is dead and buried by his country, or so everyone he loves thinks. However, his country needs him now, and he is manipulated back into action by a deadly plague, which has attacked his niece, the president’s daughter. To quell the plague, he travels across several continents tracking the organization that has orchestrated the world disaster. The order of the Arrow and Flame proves to have strongholds and eyes wherever Tox and his team turn. They are poised to release the deadly virus and only Tox and his team can stop them . . . or can they? This author was new to me. Her fast-paced writing and complex characters and plot kept me reading. I was fascinated by Kasey, the expert on deception. I’m not sure if such a skill really exists, but it would make sense if it did and would certainly be necessary in situations like this. Tox’s “conscience,” Chiji, was a very interesting character. I would have loved to know more about his story. Ram and his sister also merited a second look, too. Although this book is the first in the series, I almost felt I was entering the story mid-stream, which I think indicates strong, well-drawn characters. The plot moved quickly and sometimes I struggled to keep up. I dared not put the book down for too long or I would forget where the characters were and what they were doing. This book was not overtly “Christian,” but I would recommend it due to the lack of vulgar language and improprieties. I like to recommend books with a great storyline and characters that live out their faith but that aren’t preachy. This book fills the bill with plenty of action, detailed characters, a secret organization and lots of plot twists. I recommend it for those who like suspense and thrillers. Good job, Ronie Kendig. I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
I think this might be my favorite Ronie Kending book ever! I loved how she added an archaeological element to the military action stories for which she is known. The pace is fast, so sometimes I do have to make myself slow down to be sure I'm not missing any important details I need to know for later. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Conspiracy of Silence is the first full length book in the Tox Files series. When I decided to read this book, I wondered if I should read the prequel novella The Warriors Seal as I was just dying to start this book. I am glad I decided to read the novella because it helped me learn more about Tox and his team. And who would want to miss out on anything Ronie Kendig wrote? Kendig filled this book with interesting history, and was amazing at making the fictional parts seem plausible. There was so much mystery, and I had fun trying to figure everything out right along with the team. When you pick up a Kendig book, you know it is going to be filled with jaw dropping action. This book was all that and more. I found it nearly impossible to put down, and when I finally did, I couldn't get it off my mind. I loved seeing the dynamic between Tox and those around him. I found myself questioning people's motives right along with the team. Tox is dead to the world, and most of the time, that's fine by him. But when a deadly virus with out a cure is unleashed, the country needs our best men on it. Tox doesn't know who to trust, but is glad to be back in action. Can he and his team figure out who and what is causing this virus to spread? The questions take them all over the world, and often cause more confusion. Will looking to the past give them the answers they seek? Or will it be too late to save those they love? Ronie Kendig made me fall in love with a fictional character. I would like to say this is the first times she's done this, but it's not. What is more hunky than a special ops hero? And Tox is the best of the best. This book is full of fight scenes that caused me to sit on the edge of my seat rooting for the good guys. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys military books with a little bit of romance thrown in. This story made me even more in awe of those who serve our country, knowing that often the ones who do the most dangerous and heroic acts are often those who don't get recognized. God bless our military and their families. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Hold on guys! I have to duck and cover. *glances over shoulder* Okay, I'm good. ;) This is one of the. best. suspense novels that I have read in a very long time! Oh, my gosh. I loved, loved, loved Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig! The action. The plot. The secrets. The romance. The faith. And I know I mentioned this already, but seriously, the action! I've gotten kind of picky about suspense/thriller novels with threads of romance. Maybe that's what happens when you binge read Dee Henderson and Ted Dekker books. Usually the romance feels forced and underdeveloped, and there's usually not enough action for me. I am happy to report that Tox more than lived up to my expectations! If you were to look up "soldier" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Tox. No joke. He is the embodiment of patriotism, honor, regret, and loyalty starting at you with blue eyes. I loved Kasey, and the romance between Tox and Kasey is a long time coming so sweet. Tzivia was a spitfire; I can't wait to see what happens with her! I loved how the author mixed in more secret societies than National Treasure and an ancient, Biblical plague. The action grabs you by the throat from the first page and doesn't die until the last page. Scratch that. We know there's more action to come since this is the first book in The Tox Files. AHH! I can't wait. I received a copy of Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions expressed are my own.
Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig. Ronnie is one of the authors that I will read any book she writes without reading the book description. Within the first three chapters, I felt like there was tidbits of information revealed that just kept building my interest. I love the entire team and can't wait for Ram and Cell to get their own stories. Ronie does an amazing job of creating a captivating cast of characters that are easy to follow. Each of them is so unique in their talents and mysteries. The Flame and Arrow organization was a very well created villain. A story of good versus evil through the centuries. The president’s adviser is one of those people that you absolutely hate, sometimes even more so than the Flame and Arrow organization. Ronie has also taken the path less traveled with some of her main characters which leaves you on the edge of your seat not sure who will live or die or come back with all their limbs(you know who I am talking about). I was absolutely fascinated by Haven's job. My only criticism was that I wanted to see Haven and more of her work. It was enthralling to see her dissect a conversation for deceptions. I would be thrilled if she had her own spinoff series. The book is mesmerizing on so many levels; the personal side of the story with Tox and Haven, Tox and his brother, watching Haven work, and the suspense/action of the poison and people trying to kill them. I am sure there will be even more revealed in future books. I received this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.
I have not read any of Kendig’s previous books, and I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I LOVED IT. It’s a read that will appeal to both guys and girls. This book is filled with mystery, intrigue, black ops, some supernatural, and a little Biblical history. It reminded me a little of Indiana Jones or Sahara minus some humor and a little Jason Bourne thrown in. There is a prequel novella that is supposed to help with some of the back story; but, you get enough of a recap to not feel left behind. I am definitely looking forward to following these characters in the next part of the Tox Files; can’t wait. Christian authors tend to take out some of that tension and action; but, Kendig proves that you can have a good action book without all the cussing and sex. This book was fast-paced. There was one section in the middle that was a little slow; but, no real complaints there. I liked the balance between relationships and action. Some might want a bit more on the relationship side; but, I think if you put too much of that with the action it becomes cheesy. I mean who stops in the middle of bullets raining down to have a make out session? Thankfully, Kendig doesn’t do this. As a side note, I love that this is a woman successfully writing this military action, suspense novel! Sometimes in Christian books, the author can try too hard to mix in the Biblical lessons. It can come off silly and unrealistic. However, Hendig weaves it in fairly seamlessly without it taking over the story. The theme of the book helps with introducing these themes to us without throwing it in our face. I was provided a copy of this book by Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions in this review are my own. (This one will be staying on my shelf, loved it!) You can check out the full review at http://www.delightfullyreadable.com/
Conspiracy of Silence, book one of The Tox Files, by Ronie Kendig is another excellent novel, continuing her winning combination of intriguing plot and riveting action. From the first page the reader’s attention is captivated and hurled through to the last scene. An outstanding author who weaves fascinating fiction with history research to provide as much authenticity as possible. The plot is fast-paced and entertaining, and the cast of characters are appealing and complex. The lead character, Cole “Tox” Russell, is essentially nonexistent and “dead” to the United States government due to a failed and tragic mission under his leadership. His death and funeral were faked in exchange for the freedom of his elite team. That was the stipulation that Tox demanded. Now four years later the government needs his special skills and is attempting to lure him back into harm’s way. His weakness is his niece, Evie, the daughter of his brother, President Galen Russell, and Galen’s deceased wife—the woman that Cole once loved. Everyone—including his brother, Galen—has thought him to be dead; now he is being resurrected to fight against an ancient secret society and a plague that threatens the world. Tox and his Special Forces team reunite to assist FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes—sister-in-law to the President—and Tzivia Khalon—an intelligent and driven archaeologist who is seeking answers and a cure for the deadly plague. These two fascinating women, plus the diverse Special Forces team, add depth and interest to this intense and dramatic tale. I look forward to the next installment of The Tox Files. I highly recommend this book which I received through Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
Y’all. Buckle up for this read because a) you’ll be touching down in seven different countries before all is said and done and b) there’s a whole lot of edge-of-your-seat action and suspense – with a bit of Indiana Jones tossed in just to keep things interesting. You won’t want to put down Conspiracy of Silence once you start it so make sure you’ve done as much as possible to achieve an interruption-free reading experience. Kendig is the queen of fast-paced, nail-biting, authentic-feeling military/tactical action novels with fight scenes that leave you breathless and checking your own body for injuries after the dust settles. She also does a truly fantastic job of writing military characters – with realistic camaraderie, banter, stress, and reactions – while also keeping the language appropriate for a Christian-fiction-going audience. Her ability to convey team dynamics is quite simply superb. The romance is always deliciously lovely and full of great tension but it never strays into sappy. In Conspiracy of Silence, Tox and his team of unique and intriguing characters race against a plague of Biblical proportions and fight against an organization that seems like something Harrison Ford and Sean Connery would have faced in The Last Crusade. Without giving anything away, one character in particular absolutely fascinates me and I am waiting eagerly to see what the rest of the series reveals about him. Not to mention all the questions surrounding this plague … Is it the same plague that wiped out several thousand Hebrews as recorded in the Bible? Is it just a reaction of modern air quality to ancient chemicals? And what about this possible fragment of the Aleppo Codex found with the artifacts? For his own part, Tox is equally fascinating but for different reasons. A victim of tragic circumstances beyond his control, he takes a deal and disappears for several years. The reasons behind his return are compelling and layered and they add even more dimension to his character. His relationship with his team is complicated … his history with Kasey perhaps even more so … and his future is decidedly uncertain. Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of Jason Bourne, Indiana Jones, or anything featuring a special forces unit, Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig belongs on your must-read list. The characters are vivid, each with their own story to tell, and the action scenes are riveting. The history, the theories, the mysterious Orders … all of these elements combine with everything I’ve already mentioned to make this a truly captivating novel. (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)
Oh my! Conspiracy of Silence is full of intense, thrilling action with a suspenseful plot. The team members are loyal and have each other's backs, even with a harsh history of being caught in the middle of politics and lies. Mistrust and misinformation brings a tension to the scenes as Tox must work with agency contacts and intel that is being fed to him piecemeal and objectives are changed mid-mission. Tox is a strong and determined character with highly skilled training, but he also has his share of flaws and emotional vulnerabilities- which made him more easy to relate to. I loved Kasey's role as the deception expert, and her history of having an unrequited crush on Tox. She sees him differently than most, and has an innate sense for his real self under all the defenses (except when it comes to how he feels about her). Another great character in Tox's life is Chiji, a member Tox added to his team after spending time with his family while exiled in Nigeria. His calming influence was needed several times throughout the story as Tox's rage escalates. It's interesting how he can keep his cool in all sorts of crazy dangerous scenarios but when his loved ones are harmed, he comes a bit unglued. The Biblical history of the artifacts, Codex, and secret societies are fascinating, especially as they tie in to the present-day war for power. I definitely recommend reading the free e-book of the prequel novella, The Warrior's Seal, since it introduces the characters and gives details of the mission that is referred to several times in Conspiracy of Silence. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment in The Tox Files and learning more about the team members! Highly recommend to fans of H.B. Moore's Omar Zagouri series and Julie Coulter Bellon's Griffin Force series! (I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher; all opinions in this review are my own)
Explosive and non-stop - Ronie Kendig has done it again with Conspiracy of Silence! Following on the heels of her FREE novella Warrior’s Seal, we jump straight in to a high-octane adventure following the determined and slightly mysterious Cole “Tox” Russell. Woven together with archeological clues, threads of romance, and rocketing suspense at every corner, you won’t be able to put this book down until the end. I really enjoyed Tox’s character development in this story. There is still a lot that is mysterious about him, yet we were able to get a window into his past. I also love the team dynamic – no one does it better than Ronie when it comes to hunky team members with a ton of character. I love how separate they all are and yet how well they fit together. Then, of course, there was the romance. Not as much as in her previous books sadly, but still zinging where it was brought out. I would love to see more in the next book, but I’m a sucker for romance in general! I think the balance was good in this first book though. It felt realistic when there is a big mission to be focusing on, you’re not going to always be thinking of “the girl” but more “the mission”. So I do appreciate the real-ness. I also loved how fast-paced Conspiracy was. There was never a dull moment and that led to many pages (and chapters) read long after I should have been sleeping. If you are a fan of suspense, military fiction, or anything Ronie’s written in the past – this book will not disappoint! Think of it like a mix between David Baldacci, James Rollins, and Ronie’s classic rapid-fire fiction. Her writing is clear, succinct, compelling, and just right for the action-packed thrill ride I expect to take for a story of this magnitude. Originally posted on my blog: http://eahendryx.blogspot.com/2016/12/conspiracy-of-silence-by-ronie-kendig.html _____________ I received this book for free but was under no obligation to post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.
Deadly plague, secret societies, Jewish history, just the right amount of romance...you'll find this and so much more in the newest installment of the Tox files by Ronie Kendig. Cole "Tox" Russell and his team has been tasked with stopping a deadly plague from spreading. This task takes them around the world as they search for clues and race against the clock. You will be hooked from the very beginning. In addition to the action that I have come to appreciate in Ms. Kendig's novels, she was able to incorporate a good bit of Jewish history in the midst of the story. As a wife of a retired Marine, I have always loved and appreciated military novels by Ronie Kendig. Her characters are always believable and well-developed. She definitely knows how to capture the spirit of our true heroes. Although this book could be read as a stand alone, I would definitely recommend reading The Warrior's Seal first. This novella gives you the backstory and will help you understand the storyline and characters in Conspiracy of Silence. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Goodness gracious, another action-movie quality tale from this author!! This story sucked me into its emotional depths and kept me captive until the very last word. So much suspense (who is really after them?) and fast action (car chases) that I seriously want to see this as a movie. Tox is the perfect leader who has a crazy history to deal with when thrown back into life. His team is a crazy mess of personalities and histories that make them the best group to work together even if they don’t like it. Each one of them makes this story all that much more intriguing and fulfilling. This author knows how to mix the conspiracy and danger of hidden agendas and government coverups. Seriously on-the-edge-of-your-seat white-knuckled action that chases the team and other members all trying to stop a deadly outbreak and find the artifacts that were stolen! You never know what will come running around the corner or who will be the danger next – is one of them not who they say? Will they lose one of their team? I always liken this author’s books to a Bourne movie. So fantastic and fabulous that I want to read it over again now. Full of danger, action, conspiracy and of course heart tugging romance to throw into the delightful mix. Bookshelf keeper!!!!
I swear Ronie just keeps getting better and better! I have been an avid fan of hers since I read Dead Reckoning back in 2010 and I've loved every book she has written since. If I would have had my way I would have sat down with this book the second it arrived and not gotten up till it was done, but unfortunately with the craziness of my life right now it took me what seemed like forever to finally be able to finish it. And Tox had to travel with me several places including work, a tire place, and to have my oil changed. I always hated having to put it down because I was on the edge of my seat from page one. I loved the premise behind this new series from the fact that almost everyone believed the hero had been dead for years to the whole plague aspect, and the unique biblical spin on it all. I got to meet Tox and his team in the prequel novella and they all intrigued me greatly. Tox has a very tough exterior but he cares deeply about those close to him and will do anything and everything it takes to protect them and for that I greatly admired him. He kinda got the short end of the stick and I really couldn't blame him for his gruffness at all. His team was a very diverse group and I would love to get more of all of their stories, especially Ram. Tzivia and Kasey were both great characters but I like Kasey a little more and I really hope she and Tox end up together. This story was brilliantly and beautifully crafted from start to finish in typical Kendig style and I recommend it for anyone who loves an adventure, male and female alike! Though make sure to read the prequel novella first since they are extremely connected! I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.