While on a visit to the United States, Pope Pius XIII is kidnapped by a terrorist cell calling itself the Soldiers of Islam. If the United States and its allies do not meet their demands, they will execute the pope. So when FBI Specialist Shari Cohen is called to duty to track down the terrorist cell responsible, she learns that she is not alone. Deep behind the Vatican walls a secret order dispatches a clandestine op group of elite commandos known as the Vatican Knights. Their mission: bring the pope back alive. As Cohen and the Knights work in tandem they uncover a White House conspiracy involving high-ranking members on Capitol Hill. When she begins to get too close to the truth about the pope’s kidnapping, she becomes the target of indigenous forces trying to keep the conspiracy safe. However, in order to get to her they must go through the Vatican Knights.
While traveling across the United States during the Papal Symposium, the papal plane, Shepherd One, is commandeered by a terrorist cell calling itself the Muslim Revolutionary Front. On board: a nuclear payload with half the yield that destroyed Hiroshima. Their demand to the U.S. government: assassinate the five leading principals of Mossad. While the American leadership is forced to follow through with a proposition that would cripple the intelligence network between the allies, Pope Pius XIII is not without his own weapon. On board Shepherd One is his personal valet, a man who is the leader of a clandestine op group of elite commandos known as the Vatican Knights. His mission: retake the plane and remove all hostile opposition. Using his very particular set of skills, Kimball Hayden must neutralize the situation before thousands of lives are lost, including that of Pope Pius XIII.
Kimball Hayden is the Commander of an elite commando group known as the Vatican Knights, a black-op force that works for the Church to protect its sovereignty, its interests, and the welfare of its citizenry. But Kimball is being stalked by someone from the past, a soldier that is stronger, faster, and far more brutal—an assassin so deadly not even the Vatican Knights can stop him. This Alpha Assassin has set Kimball within the crosshairs and is systematically destroying his old team of elite fighters, the Force Elite. Kimball is then sent to confront this killer who leaves behind lettered clues carved into the flesh of his teammates: ISCARIOT. Not only does Kimball have to battle something far more dangerous than anything he has ever encountered, but he must destroy this Alpha Assassin before this killer brings his personal war to the Vatican.
Thirty years ago the world was in the exploratory stages of creating a technology capable of artificial intelligence. Thirty years later that technology has been perfected. In a lab somewhere in a remote mountain region in Iran, nanoparticles, or micro-bots, have been created to be self-sustaining and self-reproducing, each day evolving and learning from experience. They have been programmed to be the ultimate predator, devouring everything in their path and leaving nothing behind. Now in the hands of a terrorist group, the Vatican has come within the crosshairs. Using the Ark of the Covenant as a Trojan Horse, Kimball Hayden and his team of Vatican Knights must stop the promise of complete destruction of Rome by combating something unseen, and something that can kill within seconds.
While vacationing in Paris, Shari Cohen’s children are kidnapped by Jadran Božanović, a Croatian kingpin who runs a human-trafficking cartel who is as deadly as the knife he wields. Few dare to challenge him. And even fewer dare to defy him. With time running out and her resources running thin, Shari calls upon the aid of Kimball Hayden and his team Vatican Knights—an elite group of commandos dedicated to protect the sovereignty, interests and citizenry of the Church—and are once again reunited. But Kimball finds that his team is quickly outmanned and outgunned, the death toll climbing against forces that are the deadliest the Knights have ever faced. With his back against the wall, Kimball is forced to choose Justice over Law by taking on Jadran Božanović in a contest that only one man can survive. But Kimball soon learns that the Croatian is as ruthless as his legend and just as powerful, if not more so, than the Vatican Knight himself.
In a Galveston, Texas lab, a lethal strain has been stolen by a terrorist faction.
In New Mexico, the population of a small town is completely wiped out.
In Las Vegas, a vicious underground clan called the Community surfaces at night to prey on the weak.
In Paris, two old foes of Kimball Hayden reunite as a kill team to hunt him down.
Now considered dead by the Vatican, Kimball Hayden is leading a secretive life living on the streets of Las Vegas. But when a parish comes under the threat of a vicious mob, he finds himself thrown back into a world of violence.
Once again Kimball finds himself in the role as the ‘priest who is not a priest’ fighting to protect those who cannot protect themselves. And when Vatican City is threatened with complete annihilation, he returns to fight a battle against a foe he cannot possibly defeat.
Three years ago the papal airliner goes down over the jungle of Brazil never to been seen again.
Three years later those considered lost on that fatal flight begin to show up at Vatican City disconnected from reality.
When the pope is gunned down in an assassination attempt, Kimball Hayden and his team of Vatican Knights follow the conspiracy’s trail to a cathedral deep inside the Brazilian jungle—a place of taboo to locals who fear the Huecuvus, the Evil Spirits who protect those within the ‘Ruins of Lost Souls.’
The cathedral is a place of damnation and dark secrets—a hub of moving shadows that reach out to Pope Pius with a hand from the past, a hand that holds a dark secret: the pontiff may not be who he appears to be, but a man whose past may have been as sinful as those within the lost cathedral, a dying breed of Nazis who once called the pontiff ‘brethren.’
As Kimball Hayden and his team of Vatican Knights try to neutralize the threat against the Vatican, they find themselves fighting against overwhelming odds. Shadows and shapes converge, the weapons they yield sharp. Can the Vatican Knights defeat a sect where life has little meaning? Does the pope hold a dark secret? Was he once evil incarnate who now sits upon the papal throne? The answers lie within a temple of ancient evil called the Lost Cathedral.
Growing up with a sheltering mother and a belligerent father, Kimball Hayden’s young life goes from one of innocence to the depths of chaos.
When a vicious syndicate of murderers and extortionists begin to run the streets, Kimball soon becomes the focal point of their attention. His family is placed within the crosshairs, friends go missing or are found dead, all messages from the Gangster Prince.
But when Kimball’s world shatters and grieves a great loss, the sleeping giant within him awakens. It is dark and ugly and exists with the cold fortitude of a machine. It rises and walks a fine line between the Darkness and Light. And it will define Kimball as a dark savior for the rest of his life, choosing damnation over salvation to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
But then the Gangster Prince quickly discovers that he may have overstepped his boundaries at the approach of an unstoppable force, he realizes one thing:
. . . That every legend has a beginning . . .
In an abandoned church deep inside the Syrian Desert, Father Jenkins watches over a group of children who’d been orphaned by war and unrest. Having been marked for extraction by the Vatican Knights, a cabal of ruthless killers from the Islamic State cripples all attempts of safe passage and gives chase across a desert landscape that’s completely ruled by scorpions and snakes. With little options and less hope, the Vatican Knights quickly discover that they’re in possession of a precious cargo: a young boy by the name of Farid.
As Kimball Hayden and the Vatican Knights fight to preserve the lives they protect, another ISIS team marches on the Vatican to take out the highest and most sacred seat in the land.
But as ISIS marches on Rome and Vatican City, Kimball Hayden, the fulcrum between sinner and saint, finds himself divided by saving the lives of the children and the life of the pontiff, with little chance of preserving both.
After the march on the Vatican by the Islamic State, the radical group begins its push deeper into the European and American Fronts. But when the True Cross—the wooden remnants of the cross Jesus was crucified upon and the holiest of all relics—is stolen from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the Islamic State, it becomes clear that the relic is to be bartered to an arms dealer for weapons so devastating that Europe and the United States could be rocked to their very foundations. So when the Vatican Knights are called to retrieve the artifact before the weapons’ exchange can take place, the team quickly finds themselves up against an elite paramilitary group. But can the Vatican Knights retrieve the True Cross in time and return it to the vault above Golgotha Hill? Or will the Islamic State finally get a stranglehold on the American and European states . . . and bring the continents to their knees?
Long before Kimball Hayden became a Vatican Knight, he once served as an elite assassin for the United States government. After the ordered assassination on a United States senator by a cabal within the U.S. command, Kimball is set up for failure and is believed dead by the Pentagon Brass. But when a leading political principal involved with the senator’s murder discovers that Kimball Hayden is alive and under the protection of the Vatican, he’s immediately seen as a threat to a certain few on Capitol Hill regarding the sanctioned hit on the senator, and those involved.
In Malta, while on retreat, Kimball Hayden becomes the subject of a ‘targeted killing,’ and soon finds himself on the run from a CIA liquidation squad. As the Special Activities Division closes in to neutralize their target to keep secrets safe, the Vatican Knights are called upon to save one of their own.
But there’s another secret involved, a mission that was created to kill hundreds in order to promote a CIA agenda.
The clock is ticking.
In Geneva, a highly valued product with the power to cause major destruction is stolen from The CERN.
Eighty kilometers from the Austrian border, a young girl becomes the key that controls the will of the man with the power to create and destroy.
In the mountainous regions of Switzerland, a hostile force from a pariah regime attempts to extract a scientist from a fast-moving train.
Kimball Hayden, lead commander of the Vatican Knights, has been asked by the Vatican to retrieve a mysterious guest from Zurich and to escort him back to Rome by train. Onboard the train, Kimball finds himself unwittingly caught up in the mix of an operation known as Scepter’s Rule. Even though the mysterious stranger tries to direct him, Kimball has an agenda of his own. Now, with the lives of more than 400 innocent people onboard the express, Kimball Hayden must become a sinner or a saint to achieve the means, and in the process must choose between damnation and salvation.
In Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943, a place where ashes rain down on a daily basis to cover the ground with a mantle of gray, a rebel force of Jews band together in a fight for survival.
A young Jewish woman from Warsaw and an SS guard lean on one another inside the death camp where violence is the norm with brutal slayings and summary executions occurring daily. The stacks are constantly smoking, bodies are swinging from the gallows for days on end, and murder becomes a sport.
But as time moves on and a relationship grows to the point where two people learn what they are capable of, Frederic Becher, an SS guard who falls in love with a Jewish girl, lays the groundwork for the creation of one of the most formidable forces in the world—the juggernaut that would eventually become the Vatican Knights.
It’s said that when the world isn’t right, a man steps out of the shadows of St. Peter’s Basilica to make it whole again.
He is the priest who is not a priest.
He’s an angel to some and a demon to others.
But in the Middle East he is known by another name:
. . . The Devil’s Magician . . .
When a cardinal is taken captive by an ISIS faction in Damascus, a team of Vatican Knights is dispatched to secure the cardinal’s release. But having been ambushed and taken hostage themselves, only one man can bring them out. After Kimball Hayden walked away from the church months before, he is summarily called to duty by Vatican principals to rescue his team. But as Kimball works in the Dark to serve the Light, he discovers the truth behind the ambush and follows the trail of the betraying source directly to the Vatican.
In Washington, D.C., three priests have been murdered and mutilated with their corpses hanging upside-down in mock crucifixion. The only indicator as to the culprit is a 500-year-old order known as the Nocturnal Saints, an underground faction that had been borne from the Protestant Reformation and acts as judge, jury and executioner against those deemed to be in contradiction of old-time traditions. So when Special Agent Shari Cohen of the FBI is called to track down this faceless enemy, she’s joined by the Vatican Knights who have been dispatched by the pontiff to counteract the order. But when the investigation suggests that the pope may be a target, Kimball Hayden suddenly finds himself within the crosshairs, the Nocturnal Saints learn that they must go through the Vatican Knights to achieve their agenda.
After a sacred tome written by Saint Peter is stolen from the Vatican’s Secret Archives, people around the world begin to die at the hands of a madman once the secrets of The Brimstone Diaries are unveiled.
In Rome, a terrorist faction has quietly breached the ranks of the Vatican hierarchy. As the conspiracy within the ranks begin to materialize, the greatest threat to the Vatican State is about to commence with Vatican City caught dead-center within the crosshairs of total annihilation.
With Kimball Hayden and the Vatican Knights working on two fronts trying to protect the secrets of The Brimstone Diaries and the Vatican, great evils will rise on both sides that may be too much for the Vatican Knights in what could be their swansong mission.
JUGGERNAUT: a massive unstoppable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path.
Kimball Hayden: JUGGERNAUT
In Virginia, a Blacksite facility is assaulted with military sophistication to free a homegrown terrorist who once attempted to assassinate FBI Specialist Shari Cohen. Within days, two of America’s most iconic symbols of freedom are razed. The stock markets begin to tumble, financial institutes are on the verge of declaring a ‘bank holiday,’ and the American psyche hasn’t been this fragile since 9/11.
In Rome, Kimball Hayden’s demons are at their worst, the man becoming a shell of his former self. But when he learns that Shari Cohen’s assassin is on the loose, he embarks on a trip of rediscovery that unites him with the woman he loves.
When it’s discovered that the assassin is plotting Operation Herod—a mission so terrible it could cripple the United States—the man behind the undertaking, Mohammad Allawi, has also set his sights on Shari Cohen with plans to finish what he started years ago, by seeing her dead.
For Mohammad Allawi to get to her, however, his highly trained unit must fight their way through the Vatican Knights most esteemed juggernaut known as Kimball Hayden.
As Kimball and Shari form a bond to hunt down her aggressor who keeps America on the brink, they also begin to discover each other. But as Allawi’s troops draw closer to Shari Cohen, the priest who is not a priest must once again work in the Dark to serve the Light, so that the woman he loves is protected at all costs, even if the cost is his own life.
In a battle with everything at stake—love, life, future—will Kimball Hayden finally find peace against such overwhelming odds? Or will this be his final mission as a Vatican Knight?
In a Washington, D.C. suburb, a family is executed by a government assassin.
While flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet, an editor of a newspaper is murdered.
In the middle of the night as a bus leaves Washington, D.C., travelers are gunned down in an act of terrorism.
Inside the Vatican, a cardinal receives spiritual insight about a deadly killer.
Before Kimball Hayden became a Vatican Knight, he was the commander of the Pieces of Eight, a kill squad that worked as part of a black-arm force of the CIA. He kills with impunity and acts with the cold fortitude of a machine. But when he begins to question the morality of his actions and the motives of his superiors, he is placed within the crosshairs by high-end principals who want to see him dead. But as Kimball Hayden begins to see the negative cost of his actions, he slowly becomes the prey to a predator with absolute power. Watching from the shadows, however, are the elite commandos of the Vatican Knights.
When Kimball Hayden is deemed expendable by his peers, will the Vatican interfere and offer him a way to the Light? Or will Kimball continue his path to Darkness and fall victim to those who wish him dead?
From the bestselling author of the Vatican Knights series, Rick Jones weaves a tale of one man’s fall from grace, a rise to redemption, and a journey of rediscovery.