Washington Stratagem by Adam LeBor

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Washington Stratagem by Adam LeBor

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Chris Bradshaw
Reviewed by Chris Bradshaw
Summary: Murder, conspiracy and political intrigue. Expect plenty of all three in Adam Lebor's fast-paced United Nations-set thriller.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Head of Zeus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1784970277

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More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations. So said former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. There's little of that brotherly solidarity on show in The Washington Stratagem, a United Nations-set thriller by Adam LeBor.

The Washington Stratagem is a second outing for Yael Azoulay, an Israeli covert investigator for the United Nations who reports to Secretary General Fareed Hussein.

Azoulay stumbles across a conspiracy involving a shady American corporation - the Prometheus Group, scheming UN politicians and even Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Bubbling away in the background is the death of her brother on a botched UN peacekeeping operation in Africa. Will she ever find the truth? What was Hussein's involvement? Throw in backstabbing journalists, Mossad and a potentially explosive (in more ways than one) Middle East peace conference in Istanbul and it all adds up to a pacy little thriller.

Author Adam LeBor is an experienced foreign correspondent and his journalistic background shows. No matter how unlikely the settings and scenarios may sound, they come with a ring of authenticity.

The use of private military contractors has been one of the most controversial aspects of America's recent military misadventures and The Washington Stratagem provides a timely reminder about just how war can bring riches as well as death and devastation. The outsourcing of killing and the military industrial complex lie at the heart of the story.

It would be easy to dismiss some of the more outlandish elements of The Washington Stratagem to the realms of conspiracy. A quick scan of any newspaper will show just how often real life more than strains what seems credible.

After a slow start, the pace picks up nicely and is galloping along by the time the action reaches the Turkish capital. LeBor's prose is tight and crisp, once again showing that non-fiction background. The odd phrase does seem to have been crowbarred in though. Based in The Hague, the Dutch seat of government and UN peacekeepers, known as Blue Helmets: were they really necessary? These are minor quibbles though.

Yael Azoulay has plenty of potential and the gossiping cauldron that is the United Nations makes for an ideal setting. Expect more adventures from Ms Azoulay, both on the page and screen.

And as for Kofi Annan's common destiny? It remains as elusive as ever if The Washington Stratagem is to be believed.

Further reading suggestion: Typhoon by Charles Cumming

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Buy Washington Stratagem by Adam LeBor at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Washington Stratagem by Adam LeBor at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Washington Stratagem by Adam LeBor at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Washington Stratagem by Adam LeBor at Amazon.com.


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