- The Italian Divide: Allan Topol
Political arenas are often riddled with corruption, money laundering and even murder, as you will read within the pages of this highly charged and electrifying novel The Italian Divide by Internationally famous and award winning author Allan Topol. Italy is the primary setting and the campaign of Roberto Parella the prime focus as this man who owns many vineyards and hopes to create a new Italy Party, dividing Italy into two countries, provinces or states, with the hope of winning the election. As Prime Minister he would take on the job of leading the people of Northern Italy but first he has to convince one banker by the name of Frederico Castiglione to extend his overdue bank loans. With so much at stake and the backing of a powerful Chinese Finance Minister just knocking at his political front door just how far will Roberto go to win and who will pay the price for denying him his quest? The economic gap or chasm between the rich industrialized north and the poor south widened. Unemployment in the south grew from 18.7 percent in 1993 to 21.4% in July 1996, while in northern Italy at midyear the percent was only 6.2. The Italian government did try to increase or drive up the economy in the south but did not succeed. Unfinished highways, hospitals that never opened and factories that never hired. Calabria’s economic backwardness are deep and old as we learn more about the past and the Kingdom of the Two Sicily’s that ruled the region until it was brought into a united Italy by force. Some of this is still paramount and seen today.
Northern Italy has a wide range of industries. It is best known for its fashionable designs in clothes, shoes and furniture. Other manufacturing includes automobiles, computers and electronic equipment.
Northern Italy’s Po Valley provides good farmland for rice, wheat and other grains. Southern Italy grows fruits, olives and tomatoes, where irrigation is possible. Many areas of Italy also grow grapes. Italy is one of the largest wine producers in the world.
Northern Italy has many popular places that people visit when in Italy like Rome, Venice and Florence. In the last half of the 20th century employment in Italy’s service sector has increased. By 1992 services employed 60 percent of the nation’s work force and about thirty percent worked in industry and less than ten percent in agriculture. However, the opposite is true for the Southern Italy and here is where our mystery and murders begin as the author brings to light his extensive research into this country, its social and political feuds and problems and the fact that the south is less developed economically and the rate of unemployment higher.
Within the pages of this book the author reveals much about the history of Italy as the plot begins with a discussion about how to rid the world of one banker who refuses to comply with the wishes and demands of another. When Parella’s loans are called and the bank’s CEO says foreclose on his wineries and property and more action is taken and a murder is planned as two Russian hit men take out one man right in front of his wife. A murder made to look like a jewelry theft and a man who would have given them it all for his life.
Craig Page/AKA Enrico Martino a race car driver and former CIA Director has just completed a winning race and wants to inform his backer non other than Frederico Castiglione said no more extensions he did not realize what would happen next. When Craig won his race he was alarmed not being able to connect with his friend alarms him learning of his murder sets him in motion, as he now will revert back to his old life taking on this investigation even if his true identity is learned. Contacting Elizabeth Crowder is ex girlfriend will add the excitement as she is doing an article on Parelli and what she writes will set off a chain of events that might change it all. Parelli: Savior or Sinner after hearing her interview and reading the article you decide if what he wants for Italy is right or wrong. Roberto Parelli needed more financing and when Castiglione denied him what he stated was his due money to keep his campaign going someone behind the scenes decided to take action. Craig decided to deal with this on his own and with the help of the man who now had his position as the Director of EU Counterterrorism and Betty who is now his replacement as CIA Director he made the calls, the connections and hoped to get the help he needed to take down the one man he knew was behind this murder and possibly more: Zhou Yu China’s Finance Minister.
Alberto Goldoni is threatened and told if he does not sell Turin Credit he will be next. His family needs to be guarded and although he and his wife receive protection no one realizes just how far the wrath of Zhou Yu will go to get what he wants. Sending William McKnight to do his bidding and threatening him when he fails to get what he wants and demands, Zhou tries to use his power over Mei Ling the President of China. From Turin, Milan, Venice, Southern Italy, and Beijing and across Europe and Asia Craig Page, Elizabeth Crowder and his team work hard and race the clock before more bodies turn up. Joining forces once again with Elizabeth and using her contacts in the media hoping that when her article about Parelli comes out it will temper the situation and bring to light just what would happen to Italy if he wins. Justifying his actions and claiming it would be better if the country were divided, he never considered where the division would take place, which cities and towns would be under his control but the Northern part of Italy is where he would rule. As an Italian separatist candidate for President the author relates back to Italy’s history and how this concept is not foreign to the country. Bank takeovers in three banks, with the help of Jennifer Nelson our Ambassador to China and her network of contacts just maybe Craig will survive what Zhou has planned. Attacked at every corner, Russian thugs at his doorstep, Elizabeth in danger and the lives of so many at stake can he solve this mystery before Parelli wins his election stop what Zhou has in mind. After having his brother killed he seeks revenge but Craig wants him to pay for his daughter’s murder.
When the President of the United States is asked to join the team what will his reaction be and will he fund the trips that Craig needs in order to take down this dangerous man? There are many voices heard and each one with a different perspective and different viewpoint. Powerful scenes that will keep readers wondering who is on what side and will anyone be able to stop what two men have put into motion?
Lin Lu is the head of a bank in Singapore but that does not seem to be enough for him and he has set his sites on more acquisitions. But, the Parelli made a secret deal with Zhou to sell off his vineyards to him for a billion Euros and the money was already in an account in a Swiss bank enabling Parelli to pay off all of his loans and debts. But, the money came with a price and that price might cost the people of Italy quite a bit if contracts, deals, and a voice in the government for the Finance Minister of China without giving any information to Mei Ling.
Craig with the help of Giuseppe, the ambassador to China and a four-man team to execute his plan, the hope of taking down Zhou just might happen. But, author Allan Topol has other plans for Zhou and what Craig thinks is going to happen and the team that is about to execute it moves in, the ending will leave you speechless and wonder if he has been the victim of a huge betrayal or the end result was pure revenge for someone. The Italian Divide: Who wins? Who Loses? And just where will the final division be?
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine