by Alexey Braguine
Review by Mel Jacob
Light Sword Publishing Perfect Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780980073348
Date: 07 February 2008 List Price $16.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Like so many thrillers these days, Alexey Braguine's novel Kingmaker mirrors the headlines. Set in a mythical central African nation, the novel focuses on the efforts of a cast of quixotic characters. John Trager, a jaded CIA operative, agrees to take one last mission ostensibly to find a former comrade-in-arms, Igor Dankov. Once in place, he must work through a Byzantine conspiracy only to discover two agents have already lost their lives.
Like the Cossacks of old, Dankov seeks to help the current Zengawalian president maintain power. His troops, former Russian military men and Africans from various tribes, are organized and disciplined. However, at least one powerful transnational corporation and several western governments want control of Zengawal and its resources. Operatives from these groups seek to oust the current president.
Simone Loriet, a beauty with an Algerian father and French mother, complicates Trager's search, both by his attraction to her and through his confusion over her real motives. Is she an opportunist or a patriot?
Violence and intrigues drive the action. Nice people die. Trager uncovers one twist after another.
Braguine who once lived in Africa provides plenty of local color and nasty villains for Trager to outwit. While his beautiful female characters are not above using sex to manipulate the men, they also fight either to survive or achieve political goals. Manipulated by men, they in turn manipulate others.
Hard at work on his next novel, readers will want to watch for it.