Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at the espionage novels of the late Robert Ludlum. I know it’s odd for me to write about a figure as popular as Ludlum but I’m addressing ONLY his novels in terms of my rankings. Even the novels he wrote under other names.
People who know this fun author strictly from the Jason Bourne movies may not be familiar with these works because they are very different in tone and approach from the Matt Damon flicks.
7. THE GEMINI CONTENDERS (1976)
TIME PERIOD: World War Two era through the early 1970s.
I’m sure many Ludlumites will be furious that I have this novel in last place. They’ll likely be even angrier when they see which novel I ranked above it in 6th place.
HERO: WORLD WAR TWO PORTION – Vittorio Fontini-Cristi, the good-timing playboy scion of the moneyed and blue blooded Fontini-Cristi family in Italy. Vittorio’s father opposed Benito Mussolini so the dictator liquidated the family and confiscated their estate.
Vittorio was the sole survivor of the family. Sobered up into a more serious worldview over the massacre of his loved ones, Vittorio became a deep cover intelligence agent sabotaging Mussolini’s war effort. His twin sons are the major characters of the 1970s portion.
VILLAIN: WORLD WAR TWO PORTION – Cardinal Donatti, a religious zealot determined to find and destroy certain ancient documents that were entrusted to the Fontini-Cristi Dynasty.
Those documents, if made public, would supposedly shock the Christian, Jewish and Muslim worlds into potential chaos. If they fall into the wrong hands they could supposedly be used to blackmail the Vatican and other Christian power centers. Continue reading