The sequel to Allan Folsom's New York Times bestselling The Machiavelli Covenant! When an ocean of oil is found beneath Equatorial Guinea, the discovery sets of an international plot to overthrow the nation's corrupt government.
Nicholas Marten has come face to face with the world's most dangerous men---secret global alliances that go back centuries and involve those at the highest ranks of political power and economic influence. Marten is a man on the run, constantly in fear of his life. He knows too much. He has no one to trust, except the one man who may be his only true friend . . . the President of the United States, John Henry Harris.
Murder, suspense, and deceit shadow Marten every inch of the way as his harrowing journey takes him to Berlin, to the Portuguese Riviera, and finally to the always-mysterious Lisbon. At stake is the struggle for control of an ocean of oil, and with it the constantly shifting line between good and evil, love and hate, law and politics. Its cost, thousands of human lives. Its cause, a top secret agreement called The Hadrian Memorandum.
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|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|File size:||667 KB|
About the Author
ALLAN FOLSOM is the New York Times bestselling author of The Exile, The Day After Tomorrow, The Day of Confession and The Machiavelli Covenant. He lives in California.
Allan Folsom is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and a Hollywood screenwriter. His first novel, The Day After Tomorrow, was an explosive bestseller, hitting the lists of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly. It has been translated into twenty-five languages. Folsom's two following novels, Day of Confession and The Exile, were also major New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Read an Excerpt
The Hadrian Memorandum
By Allan Folsom
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2009 Allan Folsom
All rights reserved.
West Africa. The Island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. Wednesday, June 2. 4:30 P.M.
Nicholas Marten knew they were being watched. But by whom or how many, there was no way to tell. He glanced at Father Willy Dorhn, his walking companion, as if for an answer, but the tall, razor-thin, seventy-eight-year-old German-born priest said nothing. They kept on, ducking through overgrowth, crossing narrow, fast-running streams, following a dense, nearly invisible trail that snaked through the rain forest.
Now the track turned upward and they climbed higher. It was hot, easily a hundred degrees, maybe more. The humidity made it seem worse. Marten wiped sweat from his neck and forehead, then swatted at the cloud of mosquitoes that had haunted them from the start. Every piece of clothing stuck to him. The stench of plant life was overwhelming, like an intense perfume from which there was no escape. The sharp cries of tropical birds rang through the leafy, sun-blocking canopy above, far louder and more shrill than he imagined any natural sound could be. Still Father Willy, Willy as he'd asked to be called, said nothing, just continued on, walking a trail he plainly knew so well from his half century on the island that his feet seemed to make all the decisions.
Finally he spoke. "I don't know you at all, Mr. Marten," he said without looking at him. Spanish was the official language of Equatorial Guinea, but he used English when talking to Marten. "Soon I will have to decide if I can trust you. I hope you understand."
"I understand," Marten said, and they hiked on. Minutes passed, and then he heard a low, rumbling sound he couldn't place. Little by little it intensified, drowning out the sounds of the birds and becoming very nearly a roar. Then he knew. Waterfalls! In the next seconds they rounded a bend in the trail and stopped before a cascade of falls that thundered past them in a rising mist to disappear into the jungle a thousand feet below. Willy stared at the spectacle for a long moment, then slowly turned to Marten.
"My brother told me you were coming, to expect you," he said over the roar of the water. "Yet he has never met you. Never talked with you. So whether you are the man he told me about or someone else who has taken his place, I have no way to know."
"All I can tell you," Marten said, "is that I was asked to come to see you. To listen to what you have to say and then to go home. I know very little more than that, except that you think there is trouble here."
The priest studied Marten carefully, still unsure of him. "Where is this 'home'?"
"A city in the north of England."
"You are American."
"Was. I'm an expat. I carry a British passport."
"You are a reporter."
"A landscape architect."
"Then why you?"
"A friend who indirectly knows your brother asked me to come."
"He is a reporter."
"No, a politician."
Willy's eyes found Marten's and held there. "Whoever you are, I will have to trust you, because I fear my time is increasingly short. Besides, there is no one else."
"You can trust me," Marten said, and then looked around. They seemed wholly alone, yet he still had the sense they were being watched.
"They have gone," Willy said quietly. "Fang tribesmen. Good friends. They followed us for a time until I assured them I was alright. They will make certain no one else comes." Abruptly he reached inside his priest's frock and took out a letter-sized envelope. He flicked it open, slid out several folded pages and held them unopened in his hand. "What do you know of Equatorial Guinea?"
"Not much. Just what I read on the plane. It's a small, very poor country run by a dictator-president named Francisco Tiombe. In the last decade oil was discovered and —"
"Francisco Tiombe," Willy cut him off angrily, "is the head of a brutal, ruthless family who consider themselves royal but are not. Tiombe killed the former president, his own cousin, in order to gain power and reap the riches from oil leases. And rich he is, enormously rich. He recently bought a mansion in California for forty million U.S. dollars, and that is only one of a half dozen he has around the world. The trouble is he has chosen not to share that wealth with the masses who remain poorer than poor." Willy's passion grew deeper.
"They have nothing, Mr. Marten. The few jobs, when they can find them, are pennies-a-day labor and selling what little food they can grow or fish they can catch. Safe drinking water is like gold and is sold as if it were. Electricity, in the villages that have it, goes on, then off. Mostly it is off. Medical facilities are laughable. Schools barely exist. For any kind of decent life at all, there is no hope." Willy's eyes bore into Marten. "People are angry. Violence has flared often and is getting worse. Government troops react to it with savage, repeated, unspeakable cruelty. So far it has been limited to the mainland and nothing has yet happened in Bioko, but fear is in the air everywhere and people are certain it will soon spread here. At the same time, there has been a large influx of oil workers. Most are from an American company called AG Striker. It is as if something big is happening or is about to happen, but no one knows what it is. Because of the violence, Striker has brought in mercenary soldiers from a private military company known as SimCo to protect its people and facilities."
Suddenly Willy held up the pages he'd taken from the envelope and one by one opened them. They were color photographs printed on computer paper with an electronic date stamp in the lower right-hand corner. The first showed the main entry to a large oil exploration work area. The grounds were enclosed by a high chain-link fence topped with razor wire. Armed, uniformed men stood guard at the entry gate.
"These are local men, lucky enough to have been hired and trained to guard the compound by the mercenaries. If you look carefully" — Willy slid a thin forefinger across the photograph to pinpoint two muscular Caucasian men with buzz-cut hair, wearing tight black T-shirts, camouflage pants, and wraparound sunglasses standing in the background — "these are two of the SimCo men who trained them. Here is a computer-enhanced closer look at them." Willy showed Marten the second page.
The two men were seen clearly. The first was big and brawny and had singularly flat ears that barely stuck out from his head. The second was thin and wiry and noticeably taller.
"I have been an amateur photographer for more than seventy years. In that time I have eagerly stayed abreast of the most current technology. My camera is digital. When the electricity comes I transfer the images to my computer and make prints like these. I have taught many in the local community about photography."
"I don't understand."
"One night a young native boy asked to borrow my camera. He had done it before, and so I let him take it again. Then I became curious about what he was doing and asked him. 'Big bird in jungle,' he said, 'come very early almost every day to different places. Tomorrow I know where it come.' What kind of big bird? I asked. He said, 'Come and see,' and I went with him."
Now Willy opened the third folded page. It was a photograph of a jungle-green, unmarked helicopter set down in a forest clearing at daybreak. Several men were in the doorway helping unload crates to a half-dozen natives who, in turn, were loading them into an old open-bed truck.
Willy showed Marten the next photograph. A close-up of two of the men in the helicopter doorway.
"Same men guarding the oil interests," Marten said.
Willy's fingers slid open the next photograph: an enhanced close-up of the truck revealing supplies that had been opened for inspection. Clearly seen was a case of assault rifles, another with ammunition, another with a dozen or more three- to four-foot-long tubular pieces that looked like handheld rocket grenade launchers, and several cases of what appeared to be the rockets themselves. In the upper right-hand corner, another man, a third Caucasian in black T-shirt and camouflage fatigues, was clearly seen. He was tall with short hair and chiseled features and was a good ten years older than the first two.
"The guns are AK-47s. The natives are Fang and Bubi tribesmen involved in a growing, organized insurrection against the government. Already more than six hundred people have been killed, mostly natives but also a small number of oil people."
"You mean the same men hired to protect the oil workers are arming a revolt against them?" Marten was astonished.
"So it seems."
"It's not for me to say, Mr. Marten. But I would assume it is the reason you have come. To find out." Suddenly Willy took a cigarette lighter from his jacket. "I gave up smoking thirty-two years, four months, and seven days ago. The lighter still gives me comfort." Abruptly his thumb slid over the top of it. There was a click and flame burst from its snout. Seconds later the paper photographs flared up. As quickly Willy dropped them on the ground and watched them turn to ash, then he looked to Marten.
"It's time we go back. I have evening services." Abruptly he turned and led Nicholas Marten back down the trail the way they had come.
Some twenty minutes later they neared the end of it. They could see the dirt road they had walked up from the village and the steeple of Willy's small wooden church reaching over the tree line. Overhead, a monkey swung from tree limb to tree limb. Another followed. Then both stopped and looked down at the men below, chattering wildly as they did. Tropical birds screeched in reply, and for a moment the entire rain forest seemed to come alive at fever pitch. As quickly it stopped. A few seconds later heavy rain began to fall. Another thirty and it became a torrential downpour.
Then they were at trail's end turning onto the road that had now turned to mud. For the first time since they left the cascade of falls Willy spoke.
"I trusted you, Mr. Marten, because I had to. I could not give you the photographs because there is no way to know who you might run into when we part. Hopefully, you have clear memories of what you have seen and what I have told you. Take that information with you and leave Bioko as quickly as you can. My brother is in Berlin. He is a very capable man. I hope that by the time you reach him neither he nor your American politician friend will have need for you to tell them any of this. Tell them anyway. Perhaps something can be done before it is too late. Purposeful war is being made here, Mr. Marten, for reasons I don't know. There will be more of it, and with it will come terrible bloodshed and immense suffering. Of that I am certain."
"Padre! Padre!" The voices of alarmed children suddenly rang out of nowhere. The men looked up to see two tribal boys, maybe ten or twelve years old, running toward them down the mud-slick road.
"Padre! Padre!" They cried out again in unison. "Padre! Padre!" At the same time the sharp crackle of automatic-weapons fire erupted from the direction of the village behind them.
"Oh Lord, no!" Willy spat loudly and started toward the children as rapidly as his aging body would take him. In the next instant an open-bed army truck filled with heavily armed troops came around a bend. A second truck was right behind it. Marten started after him on the dead run. Father Willy must have sensed what he was doing because he suddenly turned and looked back, his eyes wide with fear.
"No!" he yelled. "Go back! Tell them what you have seen! Run! Into the jungle! Run for your life!"CHAPTER 2
Marten hesitated, then turned and ran, rushing madly through the tropical downpour and back up the trail he and Willy had come down only moments earlier. Seconds later he pulled off it and ducked into an undergrowth of huge ferns to look back.
What he saw sickened him. The first army truck slid to a stop just as Father Willy reached the young boys. Immediately soldiers jumped from it. As they did, Willy stepped in front of the boys, trying to protect them. In answer, a rifle butt was slammed against his head. The boys screamed as he fell and tried to fight the soldiers. Simultaneous rifle butts hit the first boy in the face. Two more hit the second; one in the face, the other at the back of his head as he fell. Then the motionless figures of all three were picked up and thrown facedown onto the truck bed. At the same time, the other army truck swerved around the first, raced toward the place where Marten and Father Willy had parted, and stopped. Immediately twenty or more soldiers leapt from it and started fast up the trail toward the place where Marten hid.
"Christ!" he breathed and pushed wildly from his hiding place, running back up the jungle path three hundred yards ahead of them at best. In seconds he realized he was leaving tracks in the mud. He looked left, then right, then picked a spot, and plunged off the trail into heavy undergrowth, his sudden move startling monkeys and tropical birds and sending them into a screaming fit in the trees above.
He ran on. Thirty feet, forty, fifty. Suddenly he stopped short. There was nothing before him but impenetrable rain forest, all of it thick as a carpet. He turned around. There was nowhere to go but back the way he had come.
He'd covered less than half the distance to the main trail when he heard them coming. They were moving hard and fast and jabbering in Spanish.
Abruptly their talking stopped and the sounds of them moving died out. The monkeys and birds stopped, too. So did Marten. Except for the rain, the jungle was silent. He held his breath. They were close and listening. He inched backward, his eyes locked on the foliage in front of him, feeling his way over the sodden ground. Then he heard someone shout, and the place where he had turned off the trail exploded with rushing men. They had found his track.
Marten whirled and raced through the tangle of growth in front of him. The rain came down harder, all but drowning out the shouts of his pursuers. He clambered over a rotting log, jerked apart a curtain of low-hanging vines, and slipped through it. The pounding of his heart roared over everything else. He didn't have a chance and he knew it. God help him when they got him.
The rain and mud made footing next to impossible. He slid and started to fall, then recovered and looked back. He could see the first group clearly. There were three of them. Forty feet behind him at best. Big, powerful black men in jungle camouflage uniforms. Razor-sharp machetes flailing the thick growth before them. Then the lead man saw him and they locked eyes.
"There he is!" he yelled in Spanish, and they surged forward.
Those eyes — homicidal and utterly merciless — and the determination behind them were the most frightening thing Marten had ever seen. In that instant he knew that if they caught him he wouldn't just be killed, he'd be butchered on the spot.
He ran on, the jungle as thick as a web around him, as if the rain forest itself had joined the enemy. Behind him came more shouts and then more still. They were closing in, and fast.
"My God," he breathed. "My God!"
His lungs were on fire; his legs had nothing left. He was starting to turn, to look back, more out of instinct than anything else, when suddenly the ground gave way beneath him. In a blink he was plummeting down a steep embankment. Trees, ferns, vines, foliage of every kind flew past. He tried to dig in his heels, to get some kind of purchase that would slow him. At the same time, he reached out, frantically trying to grab hold of anything that would break his fall. Nothing did. The rain-soaked soil was so slick it might well have been ice. He went faster. Then faster still.
Suddenly his right arm circled a vine, and he pulled it in tight. There was a wrenching jolt and he stopped, face up against the sky. For the briefest moment he clung there, the tropical rain washing over him. Then he let out a huge breath and looked down. His legs stretched out over nothing. He had come that close to going over the edge and plunging into whatever was below. He flashed on the cascade of falls he'd seen when he'd been with Father Willy less than an hour before. Remembered looking down and seeing them disappear into the jungle floor a thousand feet beneath. If that was the terrain here, he had come within inches of his death.
Excerpted from The Hadrian Memorandum by Allan Folsom. Copyright © 2009 Allan Folsom. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Allan Folsom clearly went to a great deal of effort to lay out his 444 page thriller involving a big oil discovery in a corrupt African country and the people who then try to take advantage of the situation in so many ways. Photographic proof of complicity in atrocities is found, and the story revolves around the effort to get those photos to the good guys. In the meantime, multiple bad guys also want them. If you can read the book without too close an eye, you will enjoy it as Folsom is adept at covering the loyalties of the various parties as they go into battle after battle. Lots of intrigue carries the book right along, and you'll enjoy some of the geographic highlights. If you can't do that, well, then, there are many other books in the bin!
The Hadrian Memorandum, by Allan Folsom, is an interesting story and it kept my interest all the way through to the end. The plot follows a man sent to Africa by his President to look into a problem there and follows him to Germany and then to Portugal where the climax takes place. The adversaries are mercenaries, crooked cops and the CIA.All in all this was a good story, although the ending was a little lame. I can recommend this tale to anyone who wants an easy adventure read. I enjoyed it very much.
Great book, a non-stop thriller, always keeps you guessing who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and what is really at stake.
Compared to the other works by the author - this is a poor effort - very slow, disjointed, very formulaic, dull
A story of corruption, greed, conspiracy, and the lone hero out to save the world from it all. There were some well-written action packed scenes that left me wondering what was going to happen. Likewise, the uncertainty of whether his uninvited female traveling companion was on the side of good or evil kept me guessing throughout the book. Yet, there were also a tad too many narrow escapes from close call situations that it began to border on the unbelievable. There is a fine line for each reader regarding how much suspension of reality can be tolerated, and for me that line was crossed. Additionally, the mention of a memorandum arrived so late in the book, that I spent more time than I cared to trying to reconcile the title of the book with what I was reading. Overall, I would not discourage someone to read this book, but it would not rank high on my recommendation list.
I enjoyed this latest book from the author of The Day After Tomorrow. However, it was not as good as that first book. Still a great conspiracy story and interesting plot, I just was wishing it was a little more believable.
It has taken me awhile to review this book, because I didn't really know what to say about itIt is a page-turner. It keeps you reading. But it ultimately was very unsatisfying. The plot was way too convoluted with some sub plots that seemed to be thrown in for no reason.I guess the biggest indictment of this book, is that a month after reading it, I really can't remember much about it.
Ummmmm.......I can't really think of anything to say except...egh. I just couldn't get into this book, so I ended up putting it aside for better books multiple times. The plot was serpentine and more than confusing, and a little overdone, and I just didn't connect with any of the characters. I'm all for a thriller, but unilke Dan Brown's fast-paced 'Deception Point' or one of my other favorites 'Shutter Island', this one didn't thrill.And the romance! I'm a girl, I like a dash of love and happiness thrown into most any novel. Not an overwhelming amount, but at least something to make me go 'awwwww' when the rest of the book is so intense and sometimes dark. But the relationship between protagonist Marten and heroine Anne is not what I had in mind. The resolution of their time together at the end of the novel was unsatisfying.'The Hadrian Memorandum' is not something I'll be reading again, but it wasn't the worst book ever. It did have action, just not enough to make reading the somewhat long book a second time.
Aside from the done-to-death plotline..i.e. "whoever controls this resource controls the world" etc., and the obvious plot miscues (they had the protagonist IN custody... and let him go to then proceed on a chase all over Europe with multiple groups of operatives to catch him to ask him the same questions they were asking him when they HAD him in custody in the first place???), and the obvious reluctance of the author to delve into the world of torture, even though it was obvious that "real" bad guys would have used it on numerous occassions... despite all that, I still enjoyed the story. It was fresh, and the characters were likable and memorable. I'll give it 3 1/2 stars.
The Hadrian Memorandum by Allan Folsom is a well written action novel. The story moves quickly and keeps the reader interested in what is going to happen next. The writer has developed the characters so you feel for them as the story is told. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that enjoys action fiction.
When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be rough to get through because the beginning started off relatively slow. I was definitely wrong! Once it got going it was fantastic. The number of angles involved with the different characters throughout the book made it very interesting. Plus, the character development picked up after the slow start and really tied in the motives of each. I thought this was a very good book, and would recommend it.
Allan Folsom's newest read, The Hadrian Memorandum, is a very fast-paced and interesting thriller from the beginning. It starts off with sudden, and cold-blooded murders in equatorial Guinea, with tons of double-crossing and plot twists. The idea for the plot was pretty good, seeing the need for oil today. Though I was too young to know a lot about the politics, I could understand much of it by the author's explaining some of the background, which made it much easier to read and enjoy. I was very surprised by the conclusion of the novel. It's action-packed plot keeps the reader interested throughout, but that's about all that keeps the book up. There's not much more to it except hidden conspiracies and cat-and-mouse chasing, all for a couple of photographs that could make or ruin a company and many others. Lots of grammatical mistakes distract and confuse the reader. On the whole, very enjoyable for adventure-lovers, and a good stand-alone novel. But it's just like many others coming in today, nothing special or memorable about it.
"The Hadrian Memorandum" is a 444 page book that should be about 100 pages shorter. The book starts with a "bang" but then bogs down in too many pages of chase sequences that do little to develop character or intensify the conrflicts which must be resolved. Then, just about 150 pages from the end of the book, the author hits his stride again, and the story takes off and becomes one of the most satisfying action/ thriller tales of the year.Alan Folsom displays techniques of a master thriller story weaver: characters are solid, action can be fast paced, and premises are plausible. This is a good read that, with a little more considered editing, would have elevated the author to the top of his genre.
This is the third book built around the same character, Nickolas Marten, previously a Los Angeles policeman known as John Barron. It is, however, a stand alone novel and it is not necessary to read the previous books to enjoy this one.I was immediately grabbed by the first sentence and the book is a fast page turner with unexpected twists and villains appearing throughout the novel. It's what I consider a great airplane book: absorbs your mind without requiring intense concentration.I have rated the book with only three stars, however. The author failed to work through narrative detail. Descriptions are meager, character development is shallow. The result is a fast paced story without rich layering. I was also distracted by several typos in the book: the editor didn't edit.I do recommend it for a fast read that will grab the reader's attention.
This will be a quick review, unlike the book, which bogs down in detail midway and does not recover until the later pages. It seems like the editor told the author to make it longer. In any case, it is still a good, exciting read (except for the above mentioned middle) and has put the author in my sights as someone to check on. In case you did not guess by now, I like spy/thriller/mystery books, using them to occupy time waiting for planes and trains. Have a Merry Christmas.
An action packed conspiracy thriller... along the same genre of a Robert Ludlam, Vince Flynn book. It has it all: crooked government operatives, Russians. mercenaries, and the good guys... all in a desperate fight to cover up or expose an American Oil Companies plan to secure (by any means) all of the oil leases in a country fighting a civil war in East Africa.The book starts a little slow but soon catches the reader in a fast paced chase to the end... Nicolas Marten's a retired LA Detective is the protaganist of the story, reluctantly drawn into to the conspiracy that takes him on a chase around the world!
This book clearly got better the deeper in to it I got. In fact the beginning was so convoluted, it's a wonder I stayed with it. But then Folsom got the story moving very well. His bad guys are very bad. His dummies are really stupid. And his good guys are flawed. I would read more from this author.
What do you call a thriller that doesn¿t thrill? Or a page turner that doesn¿t make you want to pick up the book; let alone turn the pages? The Hadrian Memorandum is a perfect example of this sad case. Apparently the main character, Nicholas Marten, is a reoccurring character from some of Allan Folsom¿s other novels and I can only hope that he actually had some character development in those books because in The Hadrian Memorandum Marten comes in with little personality and leaves with no more than he started with. It¿s like someone took James Bond and scooped out the charming or stole the confusion and desperation from Jason Bourne or even the awkward geekiness from Robert Langdon and replaced it with nothing, Marten feels like an automaton programmed to achieve the mission¿s parameters and nothing more.That isn¿t to say the book is all bad, but all of the rest of the good always seems to be tempered by more bad. There are some interesting minor characters but Folsom has a tendency to kill off any character that you might actually like which makes it even harder to push through this book. And the plot was solid if not exactly a revelation. But when the market is as saturated with books as the thriller genre is, you need more than a solid plot and a boring main character to stand out. Unless you¿re really hurting for reading material you should pass on The Hadrian Memorandum.
Enjoyed much of this book. Bad dudes are wickedly bad, good guy is smart, plot winds around the world. I don't regularly read this genre, and this was a refreshing return for me. Had never read Folsom before, and found him very talented. The pace was very good once the story got rolling. I'd recommend this to others.
I have enjoyed reading books by Allan Folsom since I read, "The Day After Tomorrow". And while the Hadrian Memorandum was good it was not as compelling a book. Nicholas Marten is a former LAPD detective who falls into one a cover-up by a big oil company, AG Striker. A company who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of oil; including the killing a many innocent people. The depth of cruelty might be a little hard for some to swallow, but it adds to the suspense and makes for a good read.
Nicholas Marten (on the run-former LAPD officer, landscape architect, personal friend of POTUS, and off the books investigator) is directed to look into what kinds of shady dealings are taking place in a newly discovered oil field in equatorial Africa.Multiple murders, a developing civil war, mercenary-industrial conspiracies, large numbers of seriously bad villians, and innocents on the run are key elements of the story, which is too convoluted and tortured to follow with interest or enthusiasm.The narrative seems more like a draft for an action/chase movie than a story. Dialogue is unnatural and doesn't sound like real people talking.Not a good read. Not even distracting enough for reading on an airplane.The book needs an editor, not just to rework the story but to check spellings, punctuation, and missing phrases.
Check your brain at the door, and you're in for a fast, fun adrenaline rush of a story. A landscape architect from Manchester is shown some photos while touring an an island on Equatorial Guinea, and then suddenly the priest is dead, the landscape architect is in flight, and a civil war is breaking out with atrocities galore. While the priest had the wherewithal to burn the photos, the originals and the digital camera card must exist somewhere. And some very powerful, resourceful people have it in their best interests to retrieve it.The Hadrian Memorandum takes us on a long chase scene involving international intrigue at the highest level. Folsom does a superb job keeping those pages turning; the main characters don't slow down for a second, and neither does the reader. Unlike an action movie, however, the characters are fully developed -- the reader understands the motives of each, even if the levels of violence are implausible. The ending was not entirely expected -- the chase ended with a whimper, not a bang, but the final resolution I though was entirely reasonable. And I was okay with this resolution -- the Ultimate Bad Guy was highly skilled, highly trained, highly effective at what he does. We never really know our hero's full story; he his highly resourceful, but, one suspects, not at the same caliber as the UBG. The chase ends in an unexpected manner, but also does not subvert the nature of the protagonists.My only real complaint in this techno-thriller concerns the use (or lack thereof) of technology itself. The crux of the plot involves digital media. much time, effort, and lives could have been saved if our heroes would have put their efforts in finding a way to digitally transmit the data. Technology that could have just as easily have ended the chase is instead employed only to make it more intense. It's still a highly entertaining story, and I look forward to Folsom's next novel. If you like action movies, this book is for you.
When I started reading this book I thought I would be disappointed because it started extremely slow and I found it hard to get into a "reading rhythm". That quickly changed. By the time I was done with half of the book, I found it difficult to put down. The action was intense and followed a logical timeline. The only parts that I found "challenging" was a tendency of the author to over describe certain environments and one particularly graphic sex scene that to me could have been accomplished in a less graphic way.All in all though, I enjoyed the book very much.
Ag Striker has discovered a large oil field beneath Equatorial Guinea. Their lease controls the field and the small african Nation. This is a story of man's harsh and heavy greed and coruption. War, murder and mayham. Secrecy, spies, and chases. It's espionage at it's finest.
With a fairly complex plot and fast-paced action, The Hadrian Memorandum unfolds like any traditional conspiracy thriller. The reader is instantly involved in the conflict of protagonist Nicholas Marten, and author Allan Folsom doesn't let up until the end. As a whole, it is a fun, quick read. The plot is interested, relevant, and believable. It entertains and does its best to remain unpredictable; however, the story is forgettable as soon as its over and I had a difficult time finding any concern or empathy for the characters. As an "airport thriller", The Hadrian Memorandum excels, as I always had the desire to turn the page and continue from chapter to chapter. But if the reader is expecting anything beyond that, he or she will be disappointed. My main critique of this book is the fact that Folsom has a tendency to explain everything. If there is a plot twist, you're guaranteed to find an explanation. Spelled out to the reader by one of the characters. If the protagonist is weighing options during a chase scene, all options are weighed in detail. In most circumstances this detailed discussion removes all intrigue and intelligence from the story and breaks the flow of the action. It dumbs down the plot, assuming that the reader isn't intelligent enough to understand its complex political and conspiratorial motifs. Unfortunately, when a plot twist or unexpected action occurs, the point or climax is belabored by description and discussion for the benefit of those readers who might have missed something crucial. This happens throughout the novel and doesn't serve the plot or the aims of the author well.While it is the third book in a series featuring the protagonist, Nicholas Marten, the reader doesn't feel lost or unfamiliar. It is fairly self-contained and easy to follow. Although the novel isn't particularly memorable or unique, The Hadrian Memorandum is an entertaining thriller that is better than many of its genre.