The Milan Briefcase by Graham Fulbright
|The Milan Briefcase by Graham Fulbright|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A slow-burn thriller which seems uncomfortably close to the truth of the way our world is going.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 528||Date: December 2016|
It began with a briefcase, a rather elegant briefcase to be sure, but it had been left in the back of a taxi. When you're the next customer in the cab, what do you do in that situation? The driver isn't part of a group, so there's not going to be a lost-property office and you have a suspicion that if you pass the briefcase over it's not going to be passed on anywhere else. So the red briefcase was taken on a flight to Luritania where it was looked at by various members of the Lenfindi Club. And who were they? Well, they started as as a quartet - three men and a women - who gathered each Sunday morning at Lenfindi Airport to discuss matters of great (or lesser) import. Originally they were called The Sunday Club, but changed the name when they gathered a fifth member (it was easier to make decisions when there were five rather than four) and then a sixth...
Just chance you're trying to work out where Luritania is, it's an enclave close to France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands and exhibiting the best and worst of each of those countries and others to which it granted diplomatic representation. It was hardly an onerous posting, but it did seem to attract those capable of Machiavellian machinations and when the Lenfindi Club had some initial success in decoding the documents from the briefcase, the American and British intelligence services were set on a collision course. But that wasn't enough for some of the club members - three of them also conspired to rob a bank.
It's a slow burn of a thriller: no need here to skate quickly over events which wouldn't be entirely believable if you had time to think about them. In The Milan Briefcase every move is entirely credible: you might not have taken the briefcase, but you can understand Justin's reasoning. Having got it home the only way of establishing ownership was to open it and if you have a way of decoding encrypted documents, why wouldn't you do it? But once that point was reached there really was no return and each member of the Club would find his or her life changed irrevocably and not everyone would make it out alive.
Set against the background of an all-but-forgotten war in eastern Ukraine and a failing Russian economy, it's all too easy to believe Graham Fulbright's scenario: in fact a quick glance around our current political situation both in the USA and the UK makes it seem almost tame. The plotting is superb and it really isn't until you get to the final pages that you realise how everything fits together. I was completely pulled into the story. The characterisation helps too: they all come off the page brilliantly and it was easy to understand how the six members of the Lenfindi Club came together despite their very different personalities and a real pleasure to watch how they were almost completely honest with each other, but not quite. The book's a great exploration of international politics, lightened by individual quirks of human nature. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Milan Briefcase by Graham Fulbright at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Milan Briefcase by Graham Fulbright at Amazon.com.
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