Wednesday, March 31, 2010

BookLook Review "The Tristan Betrayal"

“The Tristan Betrayal”

What if? What if slaves had not been brought to the New World - would we have had a Civil War? What if the stock market hadn’t crashed in 1929 - would we have had The Great Depression? Writers of spy novels love to take major historical events and muddle the facts to create a new chain of cause and effect. Robert Ludlum was a master purveyor of this literary style who passed away in 2001. A few of his partial manuscripts were finished posthumously by writers who were too lowly to be given any credit by the publishers. Robert Ludlum books were a guaranteed best seller so why confuse the buyer with details? Details which would reveal the book was half written (or less) by Ludlum and mostly written by Bob Smith (not his real name). “The Tristan Betrayal” is one of those bestsellers by Ludlum et al.

Flash back to Moscow at the beginning of WWII when young Stephen Metcalfe is sent into Russia on a top-secret spy mission. The idealistic American only knows it’s dangerous and may change the world. Of course those are the best kinds of top-secret spy missions. What if the newly signed non-aggression treaty between Germany and Russia could be undone? Metcalfe chooses to save the world and not the girl. The woman he loves becomes a critical player in the espionage game. His betrayal causes Hitler to break the pact and attack Russia, thus dividing German forces and bringing about their ultimate defeat.

Flash forward to the now elderly Metcalfe who is sent into Russia on a top secret diplomatic mission to stop a coup attempt to remove Gorbachev. According to the novel’s back cover his spy game is up and running again, “As the past and present converge, Metcalfe braces himself for a new trial of trust and betrayal, one with chilling implications that could threaten what remains of the free world.”

What if the publisher of “The Tristan Betrayal” had given mystery co-writer Bob Smith (not his real name) credit? Would we still buy enough copies to make it a best seller? We may never know the true version of its publishing history but go ahead and read this entertaining novel. If you are a Ludlum fan you’ll enjoy another action thriller worthy of his name on the cover.

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