Saturday, April 02, 2011

Fortunes of War

Fortunes of War is one of those “what-if” books that will make the reader wish its premise really could happen.  What if it were possible to identify a “power cycle” pattern that can accurately predict when a country’s political corruption is close to reaching the point where regional or world war will become inevitable?  What if a new watchdog organization could recognize those responsible for this level of corruption soon enough to disrupt it all before another war breaks out?

Fortunately, six Berkley students have done just that.  Unfortunately, by the time they announce their findings to the world in June 1938, it is too late to stop the group of greedy German industrialists that is making Adolph Hitler’s aggression possible.  The students, however, might still have time to do the next best thing because, now that the war is going poorly for the Germans, these same amoral businessmen want desperately to move their fortunes out of Germany and into Swiss banks.  Recognizing their opportunity, the Six Sentinels step in with a plan to make sure that these fortunes will never lead the world to war again.

The Sentinels are a varied group, but they have more in common than just their graduate studies at Berkley.  Each of them comes from one of the world’s most powerful and influential families: Mike Stone’s father is head of a huge New York bank; Cecelia Chang is the daughter of one of Hong Kong’s most influential traders; Jacques Roth is heir to the fabulous Roth banking fortune; Claudine Demauraux is the daughter of a powerful Swiss banker; Tony Garibaldi springs from one of Italy’s major wine producing families; and Ian Meyer is the son of the founder of one of London’s major auction houses.  A group like this one brings major weapons to any battle, but whether or not the six are a match for the Germans who are so determined to kill them is another question.

Like most thrillers, Fortunes of War requires the reader to cut its author a little slack.  There are moments when the close calls and near misses begin to get a little predictable but, if one is willing to suspend disbelief for its duration, Fortunes of War can be great fun.  Throw in a little romance (some might say, a lot of romance) along the way, and this one has something for everyone.

Rated at: 4.0

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)

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