Khaled Talib :Incognito
The media is powerful and each separate newscaster has his/her own slant on how to present the information in the stories being covered. Worldwide news affiliates present the information and bring to light their own interpretation of what others in our country have already aired. Terrorist organizations have different ideologies, beliefs, and religious views and want to impart them on anyone that does not agree with their point of view. Achieving their goals requires instilling fear, increasing the death toll and creating and spreading hate. Hate is a terrible word and should be obliterated from the dictionary. But, what would these terrorists do without someone or a group of people to target and hate? Within every country there are many covert groups who are either instructed to stay under the radar and remain invisible in order to achieve their goals whether positive or negative. One such organization is at the heart of this novel. Called The League of Invisible Knights their purpose is to stop the hate, kill off these terrorist, restore peace and harmony and remain unseen.
Functioning under the auspices of Anonymous and remaining below the radar their missions are lethal and dangerous. The Pope has disappeared without a trace. Anonymous has been hired to find him. They have gained popularity around the world as the strongest voice to combat terrorists and the power-giving voice to be silenced. This covert unit was created to have good hopefully triumph over evil. Pope Gregoire XVII is their target to find. Disappearing without anyone’s knowledge and having left no clues to his present whereabouts or condition. The only time we hear from the Pope is in the Prologue where his captors explain their reasons for his captivity. The Vatican is being held hostage too as demands are being made, threats are hurled and if they are not met, the Pope will be publically executed.
Ayden Tanner, Guy Cicce and Isabelle Gaugler are the members of this elite group. The technology and resources they have at their fingertips is quite varied and extensive. Their primary goal is to create a plan to find the Pope but although this might sound not that complex what the reader will endure along with this team will allow you to meet his captors: SWORD! They are responsible for taking the Pope and they have like any other terrorist group their demands and their own agenda. Contacting the Pope’s Press Secretary, Rafael Rabolini did not yield much information. But, as you hear their discussion you begin to wonder if he too has another agenda and is hiding something. The organization that this team works for is run by an anonymous man named Mr. Somebody, who controls their movements, assigns missions and expects results no failures.
Learning more about Sword we understand that they each have a winged dagger fingertip tattoo as their trademark. They too are elusive and are able to track Ayden and his team. The collisions and combat scenes are quite graphically depicted and the end result not always positive on both sides. Joined by Detective Eglin Kugler trained as a schoolteacher, but later decided to defend his country and become part of the Swiss Police, along with Chief Inspector Guillaume, tough as nails we meet them dealing with several bodies found with no form of identification and learning that graves at Cimetiere de Plainpalais desecrated and realizing this might be the trademark of SWORD!
The author includes the history of the Vatican when it was created and whose members signed on to reform doctrinal issues. Politicians over the years and the media have tried to de-sensitize people about Muslims blaming them for his and that and yet foreign armies continue to make incursions here and there. There are other groups like SWORD, ISIS and Hamas who revel in their own destruction and resonating hate. Rabolini and the team spoke of what needed to be done learning that his phone might have a tracker on it and that when hiding in plain sight he needed to be more careful.
Ayden and his team face many foes, get shelled, shot at, kidnapped at times, injured and hunted by men in masks. But, within this plot there is another who remains below the radar yet in the public eye and whose demeanor is cold, calculating and who wants to change the complexion of the world starting with Europe. Dutch Senator Willem Van Der Hass is the man behind this plot and with a degree in law and political and international relations have managed to rise to the rank of Senator after beginning his career in foreign affairs. Pretending to champion the rights of ordinary citizens including dealing with everyday issues like housing, equality and same-sex marriage, he is anything but what he appears to be. Knowing that Ayden was going to meet with The Pope’s Press Secretary alerted this man to have to take action and wanting to learn more about what he was up to and what the secretary might have revealed.
As a helicopter hovers over the team another group comes to their rescue. The Entity is their moniker; Cavallo is the man who wanted to join forces with Ayden and his team. Cavallo is an interesting character, charismatic, smart and although he appears to be on the side of the team at first you might question his motives for rescuing them. Rabolini’s discussion with them was repeated and threats rehashed as they explained that the SWORD had the Pope and what would happen if the Vatican did not adhere to their demands and wishes. Entering the secret office of Cavallo’s agency called The Entity they are met by a silver-haired agent called Silver Hair. Amenities on the backburner, discussion at first light, things got heated up when they returned to the gondola to travel. As it goes under an arch-shaped building entrance and guns were drawn, shots were fired, two armed masked men in black fatigue clothes appeared and the ending quite bloody. Ayden at the helm, Guy freezing in the cold water and Ayden whipping out a suppressor from his jacket and then getting his gun. Within this battle members of the Entity are taken down at one point their headquarters destroyed and the police reenter the picture. Both Guy and Isabelle are tough and although at times both might be injured neither one succumbs to the pain.
Christa Braun is a young reporter that is relentless and wants to cover the story about the Pope. This would be a great scoop if she does get this chance to write the story but will she be placing herself in danger and is she up to the task? Taking chances does not stop her but the end result will shock readers.
When the news finally comes out that the Pope was kidnapped and that he’s being held they decided to succumb to pressure and the Vatican claimed it was Turkish Islamic Terrorists that had him. They’re demanding the release of Islamic militants held in western prisons and even Israeli jails. For some reason they wanted Turkey to be the fall country and be excluded and withdrawn from Nato. Are Vatican Officials part of this plot? Is this about control? There is someone high up in our government who is behind this and is controlling the events. There are many other players within this complex scheme to take over Europe and control it and rule in a different way.
Chief Inspector Guillaume and Detective Kugler want to work along side Isabelle, Ayden and Guy hoping they can share resources and information but every step of the way it seems Sword is aware of their movements.
Through the mountains of Switzerland, secret passages under Saint Peter’s Basilica, climbing dangerous and hilly terrains of Istanbul, storms, the desert and its dangerous heat in Egypt, deceptions, cruelties and a Dutch Senator named Willem Van Der Hass at the heart of the plot. Turkish Airlines, turbulence that would make your body shake, a sandstorm as the plane landed on the runway at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, luggage falling all over the place and a cabin crew warning passages not to leave their seats. Travel warnings, nothing but essential travel in the Middle East, a driver that was Egyptian who told them to wait in the airport due to the storm and driving would be dangerous but what happens next will change it all. Betrayals, traitors, lies and deceptions as once again Ayden realizes that what he sees is not actually the truth and he has to plan his next move before he and his team are taken out.
Soldiers that question both Ayden and Isabelle, avoiding bullets that were flying by, chunks of flesh from their face, neck, limbs and bodies are like heavy hailstones from the soldiers that were hit. Can they escape yet another attack? What will the final outcome be?
What author Khaled Talib creates next is right out of a James Bond movie using disguises, learning harsh realities that Russia was now part of this conspiracy. Entering the monastery and seeing the intricate tunnels, learning more about the military bases being constructed and hoping the final piece of the puzzle or this complex maze will lead them to the Pope.
What if the Sword wins and NATO was dismembered? What would happen if Turkey was the first nation to be dismembered? What would happened since Turkey was being crucified in the papers, on the news and they created their own way of controlling Europe” Guards, guns, cells, filth, stench, and a Pope who is at the heart of the tragic plot but will they be able to save him? At the root of some of those involved is millions of dollars stolen in a bank robbery? Mr. Somebody is Ayden’s contact and when he declares the mission is finally over to what he feels is his satisfaction why does Ayden disagree?
An ending so diabolical, so well crafted, heart stopping that the reader will feel the impact and jolts. When the world is in trouble and the cause needs to be addressed watch out for those that are invisible, under the radar and realize that there are those whose identities must be concealed, names changed to protect them, disguises, camouflages, assumed names and able to travel unnoticed and undetected in order to protect you they might remain INCOGNITO! What is the fate of the Pope? Will The League of Invisible Knights find him before Sword executes him? How far will they go for justice?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine