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THE LEVIATHAN EFFECT, the second book in the Mallory brothers series, is now available in hardcover, e-book and audiobook format from Soho Press, Random House Inc., or Amazon.

What if the weather became a new form of warfare?

An unprecedented terrorist attack disguised as a natural disaster. That's the threat facing the U.S. government in the geopolitical novel THE LEVIATHAN EFFECT.

When a seemingly untraceable hacker infiltrates the e-mail accounts of the president of the United States and three top Cabinet members, Washington’s inner circle is on high alert. The hacker, who signs his name “Janus,” leaves behind a disturbing series of messages, each predicting a deadly natural disaster somewhere in the world days before it actually happens. The messages all contain a sinister warning – that an even-more-devastating “natural” disaster will soon cripple the United States if unspecified demands are not met.

Unaware of the crisis inside Washington, investigative journalist Jon Mallory receives a list of seven names – seven people who died or disappeared over the past fifteen years, all apparently linked by a shared knowledge.

When the source who gave Jon the list – a physicist and onetime NASA climate scientist named Dr. Keri Westlake – goes missing herself, Jon Mallory realizes that he, too, is now a part of this deadly chain.

Concerned about his safety, Jon attempts to contact his brother, an ex-CIA case officer and private intelligence contractor. Charles Mallory is out of the game now, living a quiet life in a remote coastal town. When Jon and Homeland Security Secretary Catherine Blaine separately reach out to him, though, Charles Mallory agrees to return to Washington.

What he begins to discover is the architecture of a massive deception – and a threat that goes beyond “Janus” and the infiltration of top-secret e-mail accounts.

What if a new branch of science emerged that was capable of harnessing the weather for military or humanitarian purposes – creating rain on demand in drought-plagued regions, slowing deadly hurricanes and fending off tornados, as well as artificially whipping up massive storm systems, creating earthquakes and tsunamis?

In fact, the United States and Soviet militaries spent tens of millions of dollars pursuing these ends in the 1960s and 1970s – creating both offensive and defensive weather technology during the Vietnam War era. Although U.S. interest in this research has since given way to other concerns, dozens of countries and hundreds of private ventures have continued to pursue the objective of taming the weather – from China, whose Weather Modification Bureau today employs 40,000 people, to Bill Gates, who recently applied for several patents to develop a hurricane-mitigation technology.

What if the most advanced research in the emerging science of weather modification and climate engineering were surreptitiously pooled and controlled by a single consortium – in effect creating a monopoly on this new technology? What if this consortium were presided over by parties that were at odds with the interests of the United States? Would the U.S. be suddenly vulnerable – or even at a fatal disadvantage?

That’s the increasingly disturbing scenario that Charles Mallory contemplates as he begins to learn the motives behind the e-mail threats. The high-stakes business of weather modification, he finds, is being driven by an obsessive and brilliant businessman whose aim seems to be the creation of a new world power base.

As Mallory strives to identify this elusive adversary – and solve the mystery behind his brother’s deadly list – the government receives a final message, and a deadline: The threatened “natural” disaster has materialized in the North Atlantic Ocean as a massive storm system, nearly twice the size of any previous Atlantic hurricane, racing with deadly fury toward the East Coast of the United States. This is “Leviathan,” a monster storm unlike anything the United States has known, carrying with it a secret history and a surprising origin.

In Cabinet member Catherine Blaine, Charles Mallory has in a sense met his match. Both are strong-willed and independent-minded, with their own notions of how to head off this catastrophe. But only by working together can they assemble the pieces of this complicated, high stakes puzzle in time to fend off a threat that could devastate the nation.

THE LEVIATHAN EFFECT is a political thriller with roots in the real world. A tale of science and nature, ambition and betrayal.