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The Solomon Effect    by C. S. Graham order for
Solomon Effect
by C. S. Graham
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

CIA agent Jax Alexander and remote viewer Tobie Guinness, last seen in C. S. Graham's The Archangel Project, return for an encore in the author's latest high stakes, fast-paced thriller The Solomon Effect.

It begins with an illegal salvage operation off Kalingrad Oblast, Russia (an area that was part of Germany before World War II). The Yalena, captained by young Stefan's Uncle Jasha has recovered a Nazi-era U-boat with a (literally) skeleton crew. Unfortunately, Jasha was trying to cheat those who hired him. They kill everyone aboard, except for Stefan who swims ashore and flees the subsequent hot pursuit. What was the U-boat's cargo?

In New Orleans, Ensign October Guinness is called by retired Colonel F. Scott McClintock, who announces that their small remote viewing program (set up under Vice President Beckham's patronage) finally has a tasking. The NSA intercepted a cell phone conversation linking an impending terrorist attack on the USA with a sunken Nazi sub. Tobie is to find the U-boat, and she manages to draw its location.

Ordered to find the sub based on the remote viewing, CIA Director Gordon Chandler assigns loose cannon Jax Alexander, who's on his shitlist and has been exiled to Division Thirteen, home for projects 'with the potential to be either personally embarrassing or a career wrecker'. Against Jax's wishes (he's not a believer in woo-woo remote viewing), Tobie accompanies him to Europe.

Repeated assassination attempts by hit men who know his itinerary make it clear to Jax that there's a leak back home. With both help and hindrance from Russian SVR agent Andrei Gorchakove, and leaving bodies in their wake, Jax and Tobie determine that the sub was not carrying gold as they'd been told but something much deadlier. They travel to Germany, Russia, Turkey, and Lebanon before returning to the United States.

While all this goes on, the author introduces readers to the masterminds behind the planned attack - a General and a powerful pharmaceutical CEO - and their motivations for unleashing the weapon called the Sword of Solomon. Soon Jax and Tobie are in a race against time to stop a horrific attack that would change the world forever.

C. S. Graham's The Solomon Effect is a well written, absorbing and intelligent thriller that manages to educate the reader about little known (to North Americans) aspects of World War II - in particular that 'estimates put the number of German-speaking civilians expelled from Eastern Europe at around sixteen million', something in which the Allies were complicit - without in any way slowing the story's forward momentum. Don't miss this one.

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