The Secret Servant
found Elizabeth Halton before her captors start making demands.”
    “We’re operating under the assumption she’s still somewhere inside the British mainland. We’ve got men at every airport, train station, and ferry terminal in the country. The Coastguard is attempting to seal our shoreline, no easy undertaking since it measures nearly eight thousand miles in length. SO13 are questioning informants and those suspected of terrorist sympathies, along with known associates of the suicide bombers. They’re also conducting house-to-house searches in predominantly Muslim districts of the city. Our Muslim countrymen are already getting angry. If we’re not careful, things could get out of hand very quickly.” Seymour looked at Gabriel. “Too bad you didn’t manage to wound one or two of those terrorists you killed in Hyde Park. We need information badly.”
    “I may have,” Gabriel said.
    “What are you talking about?”
    “I fired several shots into the back of one of those vans. Keep an eye out for Arabs coming into hospital trauma centers with unexplained bullet wounds.”
    The limousine turned into Millbank and headed along the Thames toward Lambeth Bridge. Seymour’s mobile phone chirped. He brought it to his ear, murmured a few words, then rang off. “The Americans,” he said by way of explanation. “As you might expect, they’re on war footing. They’ve put the embassy and all its personnel and dependents on lockdown status. They’ve also issued a terrorist travel alert for the United Kingdom, which hasn’t exactly gone over well with Downing Street or the Foreign Office, since it puts us on a par with Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Two hundred investigators from CIA, FBI, and the departments of State and Justice touched down at Heathrow earlier this evening and set up shop at Grosvenor Square. They have an open line to the State Department Task Force in Washington and another one to COBRA, the special committee chaired by the Home Secretary that oversees the British government response to a national emergency such as this.”
    “Are they behaving themselves?”
    Seymour exhaled heavily. “As well as can be expected, given the circumstances. For now, this is essentially a matter for the British police, which means there’s little for them to do except sit on the sidelines and pressure us to look harder and faster. They’ve made it clear that despite the appalling loss of British life, our first priority must be finding Elizabeth Halton. They’ve also made clear that they have no intention of negotiating for her release.”
    “If they do negotiate, no American diplomat anywhere in the world will ever be safe again,” Gabriel said. “It’s a difficult lesson we learned a long time ago.”
    “We prefer a more subtle interpretation of that principle. If a good-faith negotiation can bring that woman back alive, then I don’t see the harm in it.”
    “I suppose that depends entirely on what you have to give up to get her back.”
    Gabriel looked out the window at the Thames. Eight thousand miles of coastline, countless marinas and private airfields… He knew from personal experience that a terrorist with enough intelligence and money could move a hostage almost at will. A year earlier, his wife had been kidnapped from her bedroom in an exclusive British psychiatric hospital. She was on a boat bound for France before anyone even knew she was missing.
    “It seems you and the Americans have everything in hand,” he said. “Which means there’s nothing left for me to do but leave London and pretend I was never here.”
    “I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible, Gabriel.”
    “Which part?”
    Seymour removed a copy of that morning’s Times from his briefcase and handed it to Gabriel. The banner headline read: TERROR AND KIDNAPPING IN LONDON . But it was the headline at the bottom of the page that seized Gabriel’s attention: ISRAEL INTELLIGENCE OFFICER INVOLVED IN

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