Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book Review: The China Gambit by Allan Topol

The China Gambit: A Craig Page Thriller
Author: Allan Topol
Publication: Vantage Point; 1 edition (January 1, 2012)

Description (Caution is advised. This seems really spoilery to me): In Canada, Francesca, a young American reporter, is brutally murdered to stop her from publishing an explosive story. She has learned that Chinese General Zhou has orchestrated a conspiracy with Iran to stop the flow of imported oil to the United States. General Zhou’s goal: To leapfrog China over the United States for world economic and military supremacy. And the ruthless General will do anything to accomplish that goal.

Craig Page—a daring and resourceful former CIA agent, now fighting terrorism in Europe—is determined to find out who killed his daughter, Francesca. Joined by the gutsy Elizabeth Crowder, Francesca’s editor, Craig peels back the conspiracy layer by layer, ultimately learning that General Zhou has a partner in the scheming CIA director, Kirby, who forced Craig out of the Agency.

The action moves from Canada to Tehran, Beijing and Washington, and finally to Aspen, with Craig and Elizabeth narrowly escaping repeated attacks in their attempt to prevent a catastrophe for the United States. It’s exciting and exceedingly timely, with attention focused now on China’s growing strength and power in the world. At the same time, Craig must bury his personal loss, as he confronts his adversaries trying to kill him.

My Thoughts: If you are completely willing to suspend any belief in reality, this was a very exciting thriller. Craig Page, run out of the CIA by his politically connected and corrupt boss, is making a new life for himself in Europe when his daughter, who is an investigative reporter, stumbles on a hot story that gets her killed. Craig is determined to find out who killed her and get revenge. He is assisted in his quest by his daughter's boss Elizabeth Crowder who quits her job as a newspaper editor to help Craig in his quest.

The villains are all larger than life in this one from the venal Kirby who heads the CIA but who is totally under the thumb of his venture capitalist father to General Zhou who is the head of the Chinese military and who is planning a rogue action that can throw the world into a US-China war.  

The story is composed of many short chapters that switch viewpoints from Craig, to General Zhou, to Kirby. The action is non-stop and so is the violence. Everything moves at break-neck pace and leaves little time for character development. And danger is apparently quite an aphrodisiac as evidenced by the half-page sex scene that was really good for both Craig and Elizabeth and seems to come out of nowhere.

Topol did surprise me. He had a secret villain that I didn't see coming. The story was very readable and the action was non-stop. If you are looking for a thriller for a beach read, this book will fit the bill. Since it is also the first book of a trilogy, more action is also in your future. The Spanish Revenge is coming soon.

Favorite Quote:
"So I screwed up." She kicked the ground. "I should have been stronger with McDermott, just told him I was going."
Craig didn't argue with her.
"Then I'd have been in Calgary with Francesca. She might still be alive."
"And if Adam hadn't eaten that apple, none of us would be wearing clothes. You can't give yourself a beating."
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard for me to completely suspend reality--I can take stretches or paranormal plopped into it, but not a complete overhaul.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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