The Hades Factor by Robert Ludlum and Gayle Lynds Orion, $101 It's Robert Ludlum and it's about a killer virus, so readers should approach The Hades Factor with certain expectations. At the negative end are black and white heroes and villains; then there are sentences stuffed with abbreviations such as USAMRIID, CDC and FRMC. At the opposite extremity are the pacy plot and made-for-movie storyline. To be fair, the political thriller is the work of Ludlum and Gayle Lynds who, together, wrote The Hades Factor as the first instalment of the Covert One series. The deaths of several people - victims of an Ebola-like disease - prompt the fiancee of protagonist Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Smith to try to figure out what's to blame. When she, too, becomes a casualty, Smith does his own research and discovers foul play - at the highest reaches of power. Book magazine reckoned those addicted to Tom Clancy's work would 'like this initial outing from the grand master of the genre'. The Boston Herald, however, thought the formula well-worn, adding that Robert Preston's The Hot Zone handled the topic better.