The Kingmaker - By Brian Haig

Also by Brian Haig

Secret Sanction

Mortal Allies

To Lisa, Brian, Patrick, Donnie, and Annie


THE PRISONER WASled through the doorway by a pair of burly MPs, who shoved him into a chair and immediately began shackling his handcuffs to the table. The table was bolted to the floor, which was bolted to the prison, and so on.

"Guys. . . no need for that," I politely insisted. And was coldly ignored.

"Look, it's ridiculous," I said, with a touch more indignation. "How's he going to break out of here, much less walk two inches from this prison without being instantly recognized?"

I was blowing hot air, actually to impress the prisoner more than the guards. I'm a lawyer. I'm not above such things.

The MP sergeant stuffed the shackle key in his pocket and replied, "Don't give the prisoner nothing. No pens, no pencils, no sharp objects. Knock when you're done."

He stared at me longer than necessary--a gesture meant to convey that he didn't think highly of me or what I came here to do. Well, neither did I--regarding the latter.

I gave him a cold stare back. "All right, Sergeant."

The MPs scuttled from the room as I turned to examine the prisoner. It had been over ten years, and the changes were barely detectable--a tad more gray, perhaps, but he was still strikingly handsome in that chisel-featured, dark-haired, deep-eyed way some women find attractive. His athlete's body had softened, but those wide shoulders and slim waist were mostly intact. He'd always been a gym rat.

His psyche was a burned-out wreck; shoulders slumped, chin resting on his chest, arms hanging limply at his sides. Not good--little wonder they had stolen his shoelaces and belt.

I bent forward and squeezed his shoulder. "Bill, look at me."

Nothing. More sharply, I said, "Damn it, Billy, it's Sean Drummond. Pull yourself together and look at me."

Not so much as a twitch. The harsh tack wasn't punching through that wall of depression--perhaps something warmer, more conversational? I said, "Billy, listen . . . Mary called the day after your arrest and asked me to get out here right away. She said you want me to represent you."

The "here" was the military penitentiary tacked onto the backside of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

"Mary" was his wife of the past thirteen years, and the man I was speaking to was Brigadier General William T. Morrison, until recently the U.S. military attache in our Moscow embassy.

The "day after your arrest" had been two long and miserable days earlier, the "arrest" being the one CNN had replayed over and over, of an Army general being dragged out the side door of the Moscow embassy, surrounded by FBI agents in bulletproof vests, his face a tangle of frustration and fury. Since then there had been countless newspaper articles detailing what a despicably awful bastard he was. If the reports were true, I was seated across from the most monstrous traitor since--well, I suppose since ever.

He mumbled, "How is she?"

"She flew in from Moscow yesterday. She's staying with her father."

This got a dull nod, and I added, "The kids are fine. Her father has some pull with Sidwell Friends Academy, a private school that caters to celebrity children. They're hoping to get them in."

Shouldn't it help to make him think of his wife and family? He was locked down in a special isolation wing and denied any contact with the outside world: no phone calls, no letters, no notes. The authorities said the quarantine was to keep him from exposing more information or receiving smuggled-in cues from his Russian handlers. Perhaps. Unmentioned, of course, was that they hoped the social starvation would drive him babbling into the arms of his interrogators.

I crossed my legs and said, "Bill, let's consider this rationally. These are damned serious offenses. I win more than I lose, but you can find plenty of lawyers who are better. I'll name some if you'd prefer."

The response was a foot shuffle. What was he thinking?

He should be wondering why I wasn't blowing ten miles of smoke up his ass. Most guys in my position would flap their arms, boast and brag, and beg and plead to represent him.

The man was a lawyer's wet dream. I mean, how many general officers do you think get accused of betraying their country? I actually checked before I flew out here--Benedict Arnold was the last, and please recall that he fled to England before he could be tried, so nobody got a piece of his action.

When Morrison didn't reply, I said, "Though, if you'd