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The Seven Sins: The Tyrant Ascending    by Jon Land order for
Seven Sins
by Jon Land
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Seven Sins: The Tyrant Ascending has the kind of larger than life characters and adrenaline-rush (often over the top) action that's somewhere between a James Bond spy story and a supersonic Matt Reilly thriller. From the Aegean Sea in 74 B.C. to 21st century Las Vegas, Jon Land weaves a tale of greed and guilt, tyranny and terrorism, revenge and redemption. Lurking in the background is the mystery of an ancient, perhaps cursed, gold medallion, with the words 'To Dream To Dare To Win' inscribed on it.

Ruthless casino mogul Michael Tiranno started life as Michael Nunziato on a small farm in Caltagirone, Sicily. His father had found the golden medallion (previously owned by King Midas and by Julius Caesar) while a teenager snorkeling in the Mediterranean, and treasured it as his most prized possession. One day, after seven-year-old Michael borrowed the medallion, men came and slaughtered his family while the boy hid in terror. Young Michael found refuge with Mafia boss Don Luciano Scaglione, who recognized his potential and paid for his education. In return, Michael turned the Don's holdings into legitimate business interests, taking his mentor beyond the reach of the law - and making his own fortune in the process.

Jon Land reveals Michael's coming of age - and garnering of riches - through flashbacks. These alternate with fast-paced modern day action, in which the casino owner jets around the world doing whatever it takes to save Las Vegas and his casino complex from a well planned attack. Michael's entourage includes lovely and smart corporate attorney Naomi Burns as well as Alexander Koursaris, his powerful - and deadly - personal bodyguard. Each watches his back in their own fashion. Another key player is mysterious femme fatale Raven Khan, who commits efficient piracy on the high seas. Unfortunately, while Tiranno hunts terrorists, someone has put a high price on his own head - and on those close to him. Who is behind this savage vendetta?

Land tells us in his Acknowledgements that the 'story of Michael Tiranno is inspired by Fabrizio Boccardi, whose fascinating life and true rags-to-riches story became the basis for this book' - and whose business interests include the construction of a real Seven Sins mega resort in Las Vegas. The casino setting certainly provides a luxurious and arcane backdrop for this highly entertaining story, whose ending hints of at least one sequel. The Seven Sins requires a major suspension of disbelief, but once past that, it's the ultimate rollercoaster thrill ride - enjoy!

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