The Eternity Code

Extract: The Eternity Code

Artemis Fowl is plotting to do one last deal. He has developed the C Cube, a super-powerful computer that will render all other technology obsolete. But his lunch meeting with Jon Spiro, a successful IT billionaire with a shady past and alleged mob connections, plus his bodyguard Arno Blunt, does not go according to plan...

The grenade detonated in a blast of compressed sound, instantaneously hurling eleven people to the furthest extremities of the room, until they came into contact with various walls. The lucky ones hit partitions and went straight through. The unlucky ones collided with cavity block walls. Things broke. Not the blocks.

Artemis was safe in Butler's bear-hug. The bodyguard had anchored himself against a solid door frame, folding the flying boy into his arms. And they had several other advantages over Spiro's assassins: their teeth were intact, they did not suffer any compound fractures and the sonic filter sponges had sealed, saving their eardrums from perforation.

Butler surveyed the room. The assassins were all down, clutching their ears. They wouldn't be uncrossing their eyes for several days. The manservant drew his Sig Sauer pistol from a shoulder holster.

'Stay here,' he commanded. 'I'm going to check the kitchen.'

Artemis settled back into his chair, drawing several shaky breaths. All around was a chaos of dust and moans. But once again, Butler saved them. All was not lost. It was even possible that they could catch Spiro before he left the country. Butler had a contact in Heathrow Security: Sid Commons, an ex-Green Beret he'd served with on bodyguard duty in Monte Carlo.

A large figure came into view, blocking out the sunlight. It was Butler, returned from his reconnoitre. Artemis breathed deeply, feeling uncharacteristically emotional.

'Butler,' he began. 'We really must talk regarding your salary...'

But it wasn't Butler. It was Arno Blunt. He had something in each hand. On his left palm, two tiny cones of yellow foam.

'Ear plugs,' he spat through broken teeth. 'I always wear 'em before a fire fight. Good thing too, eh?'

In his right hand, Blunt held a silenced pistol.

'You first,' he said. 'Then the ape.'

Arno Blunt cocked the gun, took aim briefly and fired.