The moon is full, the sky is dark and the stars are shining in a cloudless sky as two lone men alight from an old beat up car with one purpose in mind. Their goal is to uncover what might be buried in a metal box beneath the ground inside of a coffin. Walking through the wrought-iron gate to their destiny hoping to go undetected but ready to take action if they were seen. How far would one man go to get what he wants in order to protect himself from the wrath of another? Disturbing a grave, opening a coffin and hoping to find the coveted parchment that would complete his mission and no lose face with his superior. But, not everything goes as planned as he and his accomplice are spied, seen by one lone monk. Rather than find an excuse to dissuade the monk from realizing what they are doing he kills him. The box with what he hoped housed this parchment was opened and the fear in his eyes readily seen as it was not there. Inside the box they found jewels worth more than anyone would need in a lifetime but left within the box. What would happen to him if he does not find the parchment and what will be the fate of anyone that gets in his way? Five monks would pay the ultimate price and one greedy man would join them.
Craig Page is the director of the European Counterterrorism Agency. We meet him as he and the director of the French Intelligence Service meet to discuss the possible assassination of the President of the United States. Jacques Dumas and Craig Page meet over drinks and dinner and the end result is an alliance, at least a temporary one to stave off what would have been an international crisis. The plan in place, the operatives strategically placed the unpopular US President’s envoy alerted and he’s murder averted. Enter Elizabeth Crowder who is Craig’s reporter girlfriend hoping to get her first book deal we learn more about her as she nervously walks along Park Avenue with her agent Harold Gorman. Asking 800 thousand dollars, as an advance from the woman she hopes at Wellington will be her publisher sounds astounding and astronomical to say the least. One man who wants to avenge the killing of Muslims and one woman whose title would bring more about them to light. But, when Elizabeth returns to Paris and she and Craig are having a celebratory dinner one-phone call would raise the stakes, change the game and bring to light the history of related to the Muslim dating back to 1491 and Ferdinand and Isabella. Musa Ben Abdil, a famous Muslim general relentless in his quest to fight the Christians to the very end. When the Spanish Prime Minister receives a message that a train is going to be bombed and the history of this man Musa is brought to light by Elizabeth, both leave for Madrid along with his assistant to thwart what one man thinks is a prank but what in reality will create more than just deaths and a catastrophic end. The Spanish Revenge: One man’s planned to take down Madrid, the Spanish government and teach the world a harsh lesson at the expense of so many. Southern Spain the target and five hundred years ago the Muslims were expelled from there and one man was going to get his revenge or retribution. As Craig and his team race the clock to stop what one man hopes he won’t be able to do, another phone call warning those on the train that was about to be hit would come too late. Sometimes we wonder why our cell reception does not allow us to hear the caller. Sometimes the end result in this case proved deadly. As the bomb explodes and the bomber gets away what happens next will change the complexion of things, as the end result would prove futile.
Loyalty is one thing that the man using the name Musa requires and when anyone defies him they just might pay the ultimate price. Sending who he thought was someone to execute his plan proved the right thing for him but definitely not for Craig as he deals with his failure and the fallout from the Spanish government. But, when the Defense minister calls him to meet with the Prime Minister how can they blame him for what happened? What would have happened if he kept silent or did nothing? Why did the Defense Minister think it was a prank when it was not? Next, the revelation and who would take credit for the bombing: The Spanish Revenge a group whose ultimate goal was vengeance for the Muslims and resume the war between them and the Christians and until the Christians were obliterated.
As the pieces start to fall into place for Craig he learns more about the bomb, its origin as he and his assistant meet with the Spanish Prime Minister. Allied and working together, despite the Defense Minister’s attempts to sabotage his every move he enlists the help of Jacque Ramos to learn more. Blindsided by the reporter during a CNN interview Craig learns about the tape sent by the bomber and the reason behind the attack. Not caring about anything but the story the interviewer and his boss hope to not only embarrass him but also make him look inept. How he comes handles it and the final fate of the tape will let you know Craig Page is a force to be reckoned with as the news director found out you might say the hard way. But, there is much more as we meet a character from his precious book China Gambit, General Zhou in exile whose only goal is to become President of China and align himself with Musa hoping to help him bring down Craig. Revenge in a different way as the author relates just how he brought this man down in this previous novel and why he wants to help Musa with his cause. Hoping to you say kill two birds with more than one powerful stone he enlists the help of his brother and one other man to find out more about Musa and his whereabouts. What will happen if these two men succeed? Just how horrific will the end result be?
Getting to understand Zhou’s rationale and his reasons for wanting to align enlightens the reader in many ways. First, we learn about his history with Craig and how he stopped his operation called Operation Dragon Oil. Imagine what would have happened if he had succeeded in sabotaging our pipelines and successfully attacked the oil fields of Sunni suppliers. Both men sought vengeance against Craig each for different reasons both hoping the same result. Added in we meet Lila the sister of one of the men Musa killed and we learn about his background, her fears for his life and hers and why she went to Craig and Elizabeth for help. Imagine bribing the CIA Director to work with the terrorists against our country. What Musa has planned with rock the Christian world and destroy its heart. The Spanish Revenge as this group calls itself wants Islam to rise and Christianity to fall. But, will they succeed?
Author Allan Topol takes the reader inside the minds of many different killers and terrorists to understand why our government works 24/7 to stop these attacks before they happen. The history of the Southern Spain is shared with the reader, the rationale behind Musa wanting to take back the Alhambra and the final outcome far from over.
The next phase of our intricate plot is revealed as Omar was instructed to poison the Vatican’s water supply as the author’s research about the history of the Vatican is shared with readers. But, just what he does and how he manages to get the information he needs will definitely surprise the reader. When Craig and Elizabeth decide to visit Morocco things do take a different twist as the face the terrorist head on and the end result will surprise not only them but Musa too. With lies, deceits, corruption in many governments, greed and defense ministers not willing to help capture this dangerous man, just where will the final attack occur and who will fall? Alliances are made but not where they should be as we learn the hidden secret behind the parchment and just how valuable it is to Musa. What was the final edict that Queen Isabella made that would change the complexion of the South of Spain and hand it over to the Muslims?
Characters that seem like they come right out of the international headlines in the news, vividly depicted and definitely well crafted Elizabeth and Craig race the clock to stop one terrorist who plans to light up the world in an explosive way and take down Christianity at the as same time. Revenge is the name of their game as Musa teams with Craig’s archenemy Zhou to beat the clock and stop what he has in motion.
Deceptions revealed, prisoners taken and the truth revealed Craig and his team work feverishly to foil what this sadistical man has planned for the world. But, first he has to convince some powerful people to support him plus the President of the United States who is anything but his fan. When you hear Craig’s words, listen to the voice of one of the foreign Presidents aiding him on you begin to see why it is so necessary for countries around the world to work together for a common goal. Just what happens and does he stop the plot you will have to learn for yourself. Does Craig finally get General Zhou? Will Musa fall? What about his plan to foil the Muslim people and ignite a war with the Christians? Real life events. Real issues in the news. One dynamite and explosive novel. Fran Lewis: reviewer