When prominent Italian banker Frederico Castiglione is murdered in an apparent jewelry robbery gone wrong, things are not what they seem. Former CIA Director Craig Page is enjoying his new life as Italian race car driver Enrico Marinobut when he hears that his friend and sponsor has been found dead, he suspects foul play. Shortly after Castiglione’s death, Italian banker Andrew Goldoni is asked to sellor else. When he refuses, his daughter goes missing.
Craig embarks on an investigation to solve the riddles underlying Castiglione’s murder and rescue Goldoni’s daughter, but the pieces don’t quite fit. The murderers are Russian, but the takeovers are based in China, and somehow Roberto Parelli, the Italian separatist candidate for President, is involved.
With the help of Elizabeth Crowder, CIA director Betty Richards, and director of EU Counter Terrorism Giuseppe, Craig discovers a complicated web of mysterious political and financial takeovers across Italy, all linked back to Craig’s sworn enemy, Zhou Yun, and Roberto Parelli.
In The Italian Divide loyalties lie deep, dangerous alliances are made to be broken, and organized crime is omnipotent. Allan Topol’s latest Craig Page thriller is an electrifying foray into the world of international intrigue. Against blackmail, extortion, and treason, can Craig Page still prevail?
About the Author
Allan Topol is the national bestselling author of nine novels of international intrigue, including Spy Dance. His novels have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Hebrew. He is a graduate of Carnegie Institute of Technology, who majored in chemistry, abandoned science, and obtained a law degree from Yale University. A partner in a major Washington law firm, and an avid wine collector, he has traveled extensively, researching dramatic locations for his novels.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the fifth book in the Craig Page series. It is a fast-paced thriller that always has another card up its sleeve to entice the reader to read on and be entertained. Once I started reading, I was hooked. The book simply kidnapped my complete attention. Several themes play out together, and although they may seem disconnected, they are all knitted together in a story line that hums along steadily. There is a plot by the corrupt and scheming Finance Minister of China, Zhou Yun, to take over banks and wineries, starting in Italy, in an attempt to restore China to its former greatness, making it an even more important player on the world stage, while he also, conveniently, enriches himself and unseats the current President, Mei Ling, who took over after his brother was murdered. He is ruthless and will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals. At the same time there is an election in Italy and one man, Roberto Parelli, has begun to gain more and more attention. He wants to divide Italy into two parts, one the North and the other the South, since the South drains the economy of the North. He believes this will make Italy greater in the long run. He is deep in debt and is willing to make ethical compromises to accomplish his goals. Soon, Zhou becomes interested in financing Parelli as it will advance his own cause. He wants his winery, the winery that has been in Parelli’s family for generations. Money laundering is no problem for Zhou, or the Russians he deals with, nor is violence as his associates are thugs. Meanwhile, Enrico Marino, alias Craig Page who was once the director of the CIA, is in a road race in Italy which he wins! Zhou was responsible for the murder of his daughter, Francesca, a journalist, and Page was blamed by Zhou for the murder of Zhou’s brother, the former Chinese President. He wants vengeance, and to avoid being killed, since he knows Zhou will never stop until he succeeds, Page had plastic surgery and assumed a new identity as a race car driver. When Marino’s sponsor, Federico Castigliano, a prominent banker, was murdered in a supposed jewelry robbery, he was drawn into an international intrigue of major proportions. He knew that Federico would never have risked his life to protect jewelry and he re-enters the investigative world he once controlled, calling on former friends for help. He also reunites with his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Crowder, since she is investigating the Parelli campaign as a journalist and has uncovered some interesting information. Zhou would also like to get his hands on her since she also was connected to the death of his brother. Have I confused you enough? Trust me, the book is not confusing. Sometimes it feels obvious and contrived, but it always draws the reader back in as it twists and turns in all directions to solve the murder and get to the bottom of the deception. The need is to take Parelli out of the election in Italy to prevent Italy’s decline and to remove Zhou as a threat to the world. The how is the problem! The leaders of many major countries become involved as do higher ups in their governments. In China, President, Mei Ling, and in America, President Worth, both become drawn into the conspiracy and work together. There is a pox on both their houses with corrupt politicians lurking around trying to protect their own interests instead of their country’s. Although there are many parts to the story, and it takes a bit of time for it to a
Former CIA Director Craig Page has reinvented his life after being involved with an international conflict that caused the death of a family member and also being responsible for the death of a Chinese leader’s brother. Now Page, after undergoing drastic plastic surgery, is famous as an Italian racecar driver, Enrico Marino. His love of the sport has made him happier than he has been in years. However, that new life is about to undergo a major disruption as a result of the death of a Florentine banker and friend, Frederico Castiglione. Page speaks to a friend of Castiglione, an Italian banker, Andrew Goldoni. The two bankers had been first politely sell a large percentage of their bank shares and then threatened with physical harm if they refused. The coercion is first carried out by Chinese agents and then Russian muscle men. Page decides he owes it to Castiglione to prove that his death was not a jewelry heist gone awry. His suspicions grow stronger after learning that an Italian politician, who is running on a ticket advocating that Northern and Southern Italy become separate independent states, is involved with strange bedfellows lending him money in return for ignoring Asian takeovers of Italian businesses. It’s an unhappy and violent turn of events that Page is insistent on proving, coupled with an unspoken desire for revenge on Zhou Yun. Page is assisted by two CIA agents and a counter-terrorism director. The criminal elements underestimate Page’s perseverance in uncovering the crime with severe ramifications for the governments of Italy, America and eventually the world To say more would spoil a phenomenal international thriller plot that twists and turns in unpredictable ways that leave the reader exhilarated and anxious to learn the end that could be a blessing or could be an international calamity. Alan Topol writes with shades of style comparable with the old novels of Robert Ludlum and Frederick Forsythe. Just when the tension ratchets up to what feels like a climactic turn of events, the plot thickens even further. The Italian Divide… is an international thriller of the highest order, one which this reviewer eagerly recommends for those who love this dynamic genre of writing.