Warren Adler is the author of more than forty published novels, the most famous being “The War of the Roses”, made into a very successful movie. This was my first occasion to read any of his work. I really enjoyed it and am contemplating which book to tackle next.
The plot of the book revolves around a family, Richard who works for the foreign service and is stationed in Egypt, his wife Maria and their five year old son. When this book was written in the mid 1980’s, 1986, the USSR was still intact and terrorism was starting to rise. The PLA and Arafat were the main group but others were popping up in Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Egypt. Mr. Adler was eerily ahead of his time in how he portrays this world of terrorism, each with their own agendas.
As the novel begins, Maria is sitting in her car with her not so patient son waiting to pick up her husband. He is already an hour late. He is part of the group giving the Under Secretary of State a tour of the museum. Also in the same parking lot are six men waiting to kidnap the Under Secretary to ransom in exchange for prisoner releases. When Maria’s son can wait no longer, she walks him towards the museum entrance to use the restroom, just as the dignitaries come out. The terrorist plan goes sideways quickly. In an attempt to gain something out of the botched plan Maria and her son are snatched instead.
This is where the novel excels in the dichotomy of power and how it is used. American policy is not to negotiate with terrorist. Maria and her son will most likely suffer torture and die. Except for one small fact unknown but to Maria, her husband and a few others. Maria’s father is a businessman in Brooklyn. The kind of business that Mario Puzo wrote so well about in his novels. Maria’s father is a Don, a Godfather, a mafia king. He does not play by the same rules as the government especially when his only surviving child and only grandson are involved.
His plan is simple. If the President will not negotiate with terrorist for hostages, take the President hostage. Here the book shows some dating. The mafia get into the White House relatively easy. There is only one computer involved for the CIA Director to use to contact operatives. Once the reader accepts the existence of the USSR and lack of computers and tight security, the story flows nicely. It really was a compelling listen.
Mr. Moore does a great job narrating. The overt menace of the terrorist leader is nicely contrasted with the calm danger of the mafia don. All the accents are well done. Mr. Moore infuses the emotion into the narration without overdoing it. He really made the audiobook a “must listen just a little bit longer” that turned into hours. The production values were great.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audiobook Reviewer in exchange for an honest review.