Sheldon writes a good book and this story is full of intrigue and suspense. A mysterious weather balloon crashes to earth and an investigator is picked to tract down and identify the ten known witnesses to the event. Each of the ten is found and inditified
and subsequently murdered to keep the event a secret. After all the witnesses are terminated the hunt begins for the investigator who must run for his life before he can tell of an incredible conspiracy.
ISBN 0446363669 - I read a review once that said that this book was a motivating factor for Dan Brown. That provided the final clue in a small puzzle for me. Sheldon's The Doomsday Conspiracy is very much a (smarter, older) sibling to Brown's Deception Point.
Vietnam contributed to Robert Bellamy's life in very important ways. He served with Edward Whittaker and felt responsible for the man's death. His guilt was eased by Edward's father when Admiral Whittaker took him under his wing and treated him like a son. Injured, Bellamy was nursed back from the brink of death by Susan. They married and began a blissful life, soon interrupted by Whittaker, who recruited him for the NSA. Too much time on the road killed his marriage and left him open to be manipulated when Operation Doomsday begins.
Unaware of too much, Bellamy is only told that witnesses to the crash of a weather balloon containing top secret instruments must be found, so that their governments can explain the need for them to not talk about what they saw. Robert, a good soldier, doesn't question his orders and sets off on an almost impossible mission: to locate an unknown number of unknown people. He soon finds that the "weather balloon" was a UFO and still doesn't question. He succeeds against all odds and is just about ready to head home... when he discovers that he is now being hunted. Not only his own government, but every law enforcement agency in Europe is after him. All that can save him is the excellent training the NSA provided.
In Brown's Deception Point, the government is trying to fake extraterrestrial evidence and the good guys take on the best hired killers in the US, despite the lack of training and/or skills. Sheldon's The Doomsday Conspiracy is the opposite in almost all ways - "the government" here is really a network of high profile, powerful men in positions in governments around the world, the good guy is actually trained for what he faces and the cover up in this case is to hide that aliens are real. Other than that, the books are remarkable similar although Sheldon's is a little bit better.
The ending is a bit abrupt and kind of silly. Until the earthlings actually interact with aliens, the story is good, but the aliens take it down the silly sci-fi road. The author's note does little to make it make more sense. He points out various UFO sightings by "reliable" sources and includes a letter from former astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, in which the man really comes out sounding like a nut. The book is worth reading, the notes at the end are worth skipping.
When a mysterious weather balloon crashes to earth in the Swiss Alps, the head of the NSA handpicks Robert Bellamy to track down and identify the ten known witnesses to the event. A man whose obsession with his covert assignments has cost him the only woman he can ever love, Bellamy now faces the impossible. But as he searches for clues from Rome to Budapest to Texas, this mission blows up in his face- and rips the lid off an incredible conspiracy that stretches around the globe and even into space... Alone and betrayed on every side, Bellamy must run for his life - holding an astonishing secret and the key to the plant's very survival.