Book III continues the story of Pat Kennedy as he tests Galenus, a new life extending molecule developed by his firm LifeGen. At the same time, more than 9,000 kilometres away, the Russian, Arkady Demitriev, tries to unravel the secret discovered by Barry Simmonds, a small-time lawyer in Belize City, and explain Simmonds' mysterious meeting with Kennedy in San Sebastian, Spain.
Kennedy, as he recovers from Covid-19, isolates himself in his villa in Beaulieu on the French Riviera, where he plans his future and that of his international banking empire.
PAT KENNEDY OPENED HIS EYES, then slowly examined his surroundings, he recognised his room at the Villa Contessa and felt a surge of immense pleasure. A month had passed since he had decided to isolate himself, like many of the very rich, far from the crowds, the stress of meetings and the constant hustle of the City of London.
He bounded out of bed, stretched, picked up the remote and zapped open the roller shutters of his large high ceilinged bedroom. The sun streamed in from the southwest, it was another early summer morning.
Pat shaded his eyes and admired the magnificent view over the terrace, the Mediterranean sparkled like a silver platter beyond the villa’s luxuriant gardens.
He felt good.
Life was very good, far from Boris Johnson’s fatuous ‘Let’s get going’ Britain.
What had been planned as a rest in Beaulieu-sur-mer was now becoming a habit. He had little desire to return to London, even less Hong Kong. He just wanted to lay back, admire the colours and breath in the perfumes of the French Riviera.
But to start the day he had an appointment at Lifegen, for his first check-up and at breakfast he informed George, his butler cum household manager, he would drive to Sophia Antipolis himself and return after lunch with Rob McGoldrick.
He’d never felt so well, relaxed, being far from the pressures of London, Paris and Hong Kong was having its effect.
Rob McGoldrick had always reminded Pat that good health was primordial, keeping a toned muscle structure for as long as possible not only helped to preserve mobility in later life, it also improved the aesthetics of ageing, helped maintain the firmness of the face and body, keeping him looking fit and youthful.
However, that was not all, it was also essential to feel good, build a positive view of life, which started with a diet to improve cardiovascular health, reduce cholesterol levels, lessen the risks of osteoarthritis. Starting with a plant based diet and eating less meat and animal based products.
Pat had learnt that the skin was a great indicator of health, that a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables improved the complexion, healing and moisturising the skin, making for a younger appearance, boosting that feel-good sense of contentment.
It was why when he looked at his reflection in his bathroom mirror, he felt pleased with what he saw, his smooth skin and the glow a healthy tan gave. On Rob’s recommendations he had spent his time relaxing by the pool and enjoying just enough sun. But there was something else. He looked more closely at his skin, it seemed firmer, clearer. He stretched his cheek with his fingers. There was no mistaking it, he definitely looked younger.
He picked up his cellphone, glanced at the messages, checked the biometric data on his Apple Watch, a GPS+Cellular. Everything looked in order, all details were transmitted to the LifeGen site via a direct link, open 24/24, where his data was monitored in real-time.
Looking at his cell and watch, the idea occurred to him that he and those around him were evolving into cyborgs of a kind, which didn’t worry him more than that.
After dressing, Pat skipped down the broad marble stairway and through the open French windows onto the villa’s terrace, where he paused to eat a freshly prepared fruit salad. He then headed for the garage situated behind the gardens under the shade of a tall stand of cypresses where his driver was waiting. He wished Pat good morning and handed him the keys of the car that was already parked on the gravel driveway.
With no more ado Pat slid in behind the wheel of the burgundy coloured 1967 Citroen DS cabriolet, his favorite, one he felt went with the style of the villa. He had always been fascinated by the Côte d’Azur and the people who had lived there—Picasso, Van Gogh, Grace Kelly, Coco Chanel and especially Scott Fitzgerald. He liked to imagine himself in the role of one of the writer’s literary heroes.
Heading off along the winding road he breathed in the morning air before he hit La Provençale—the winding autoroute that would take him around Nice and on to Valbonne and the Sophia Antipolis Science Park.
Forty five minutes later he was at LifeGen where his friend, Rob, was just arriving after having taken a taxi directly from Nice airport.
‘Hi Pat, how are you,’ said Rob smiling. ‘Like the car. The Mediterranean air must be doing you good, you’re looking in great form.’
Pat grinned, he was feeling good.
Michel Morel appeared at the smoked glass doors that led into the reception area of the futuristic research centre. He looked pleased to see his friends. ‘Let’s go to the conference room, Jean-Yves is waiting for us.’
Standing before an extra large flat TV screen at one end of the conference room Jean-Yves was juggling with various images from a laptop.
‘Hi guys, I’m just trying to get these pictures in the right order.’
They sat down around the oval table facing the screen exchanging small talk as a secretary oversaw the coffee served by an attractive assistant in a white coat.
‘So,’ commenced Michel Morel looking at Pat, ‘let’s get down to business. How’s our laboratory primate doing.’
They all laughed.
‘Great, I’m feeling great.’
‘That’s good news, no side effects?’
‘Nothing visible,’ said Pat laying his hand of the table. ‘Touch wood.’
‘Excellent. Jean-Yves is going to run through the data comparison with that Rob supplied us, together with the blood tests and scans made in Beaulieu at the end of last week.’
There was nothing amiss, the data confirmed what they had expected, not only was their ‘primate’ was in perfect form, he was bursting with health.
After Pat was given a clean bill of health they skipped lunch and together with Rob he bid his friends at LifeGen goodbye.
Dropping his bags into the boot Rob jumped into the cabriolet beside Pat who with a hoot of the horn accelerated off in the direction of Nice and the road back to Beaulieu. Rob was looking forward to his break, delighted to get away from the dismal summer weather in London, taking in the silky warmth of the Mediterranean air and easy going life of the Riviera as Pat’s guest for the weekend.
Pat felt elated as he sped along the Corniche, radiating his pleasure with life, not only was his body in good health, but a burden had been lifted from his mind and he could turn his attention to other issues that were important to him.
The initial tests had shown he had new vitality, naturally it would require further, deeper, scientific cell analysis, but it seemed certain that the Galenus formulation had significantly boosted his drive, his verve.
After Rob was shown to his room Pat proposed a game of tennis, then, after a couple of sets, they passed the afternoon relaxing by the pool before driving into Nice to find a place to eat in the Old Town.
Rob was astonished by the change that had taken place in his friend, he seemed so brash, carefree, and he actually looked younger.