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Prologue

The action never stops in Vegas. There is always something riding on the line, always the chance to make or break a fortune with another card, another roll of heartless dice across the green felt battlefield.

In Vegas the hunger is never satisfied. With an appetite for money, sex, prestige or power, somewhere in the all-night town a hungry visitor can find it all. Or lose it all. Las Vegas is a jungle planted in the middle of a desert, and like any other jungle it is filled with predators.

The strong survive by cunning, force and savagery; the weak become their prey, are drained of sustenance and cast aside. The jungle hunters live within a private hierarchy, self-imposed and rigidly enforced. The strongest and best organized cooperate, divide the lion's share of plunder while the jackals forage for their leavings. Natural attrition thins the ranks and weeds out any predator unworthy of the competition for survival. Las Vegas is the town that Bugsy Siegel built, and it had been an early stop along Mack Bolan's hellfire trail. He had been tested there and, against the odds, had beat the house. The Executioner had gambled everything in Vegas and he'd won. But his victory was transient, totally devoid of any lasting guarantees. Now there were rumbles coming out of Vegas, louder than the shock waves from the Atomic Energy Commission's below-ground testing range located north of town. A sinister vibration underlay the omnipresent jangle of the action. It was time to play again in Vegas, right. Against a loaded deck, with every odd belonging to the opposition. Never mind that Bolan did not know the stakes precisely. There was only one rule in the game he played: you bet the limit every time, and never fold. It was a death game, sure, and going into it he held a dead man's hand. With luck and grim audacity, it just might be enough to see him through.


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