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The Final Reckoning    by Sam Bourne order for
Final Reckoning
by Sam Bourne
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sam Bourne, bestselling author of The Righteous Men and The Last Testament, now brings readers another compelling thriller rooted in history, The Final Reckoning.

The modern story begins when seventy-seven year old Gerald Merton (mistaken for a terrorist) is shot at the United Nations. Henning Munchau, UN Legal Counsel, enlists Tom Byrne, once an idealistic young lawyer - he left the UN more than a year before in disgust after only twenty-six Tutsis were convicted by the UN tribunal for the Rwandan genocide - to journey to England, give the man's family whatever they want, and 'close this thing down'.

In England, Tom meets Merton's daughter Rebecca (a pediatric oncologist) and is horrified to learn that her father was a Holocaust survivor - a potential 'PR calamity' for the UN. Strongly attracted by Rebecca's striking eyes, but quickly dismissed by her, Tom picks up a Moleskine notebook that looks very much like one of his own. As he peruses it afterwards, Tom and readers learn Gerald Merton's terrible history in Lithuania.

But there's much more to the story than appears on the surface. Merton was not just a survivor; he was a young hero who risked his life time and time again to spread news of the genocide to Jews through Europe. He later joined DIN, an organization focussed on tracking down Nazi war criminals and exacting vengeance (out of over 'thirteen million men once deemed complicit in the horrors of the Third Reich, we have eleven death sentences at Nuremberg, and three hundred men in jail' for short sentences).

Tom wonders if his DIN role is why Merton was in contact with a Russian arms dealer in New York. But if so, who was his target at the UN? Who has wrecked Rebecca's apartment and what do they seek? In return for her silence to the media, Rebecca demands Tom's help to find the truth behind what happened to her father and the burglary. They meet with old friends of Merton's, seeking answers. But there are powerful people who don't want those answers to be found.

The Final Reckoning is a potent story, with a twisting, turning plot and 'a ticking time bomb' of a secret that will keep you breathless until the very last page. And don't miss the Author's Note at the end, which informs us that the story at the heart of this one is true; Holocaust survivors/resistance fighters 'did, in fact, seek revenge for the Nazi slaughter of the Jews in the months and years that followed the Second World War.' Highly recommended!!

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