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The Old Weatherman dreams of a plan that could be his swan song, an attack to drive a stake through the heart of the right-wing establishment and bury it for good. Now he's found the money, the ideal weapon, and the professional who knows how to use it. And he has set his sights on the perfect target at the very seat of the United States government, in the heart of downtown Washington. It will be a strike heard round the world. San Diego defense attorney Paul Madriani is still reeling from the trauma of a near nuclear explosion he helped avert at the naval base in Coronado. Threatened by federal authorities to keep quiet about the close call in California, Madriani is now faced with a new problem in the steely-eyed and alluring Joselyn Cole, a weapons control expert, who believes he has to go public with what he knows if they have any hope of stopping a similar event in the future. But Madriani has been linked to the murder of a Washington, D.C., political staffer, and authorities believe a shadowy figure called Liquida—a hired assassin known as "the Mexicutioner"—may be responsible. And this man, as the last survivor of the attack in San Diego, might be driven by a bizarre and horrifying star-crossed vendetta, and might now be looking for Madriani himself. What Madriani and Cole begin to fear is that the Old Weatherman and this madman have joined forces and intend to pull the city—and the country—into a vortex of terror before Madriani and Cole can find answers to the enigma that is "the rule of nine."