4 out of 4 stars
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The Panama Canal, a mega project from the past, is the backdrop to this book. The Canal is to be updated, and The Expansion by Christof Martin is written to tell the story of the game of industrial espionage involved in such an enterprise.
Christof Martin starts out the book with the family tragedy of the main character’s parents that marks him for life. Max Burns does succeed and becomes a world-renowned geomantic engineer who can lead the expansion of the Panama Canal. I was fascinated by the technology I was exposed to in this interesting account.
The author develops the plot in five parts. Part 1 introduces the main characters: Max Burns, an engineer, and Karis Deen, a scientist. Part 2 describes the Panama Canal and friends of Max. These along with American Ambassador, Roebuck, will play a significant role in gaining Max a contract for construction of the expanded Canal. In Part 3 the drama and intrigue of the story increase as Max’s company gain the contract. Part 4 presents the reader to a team of players that seek to control the outcome of the plot. Part 5 reveals complications to the plot that shows that the game of industrial espionage is a part of the expansion involved in this story.
Martin produces some strong personalities who drive the story forward. Max Burns is moved along by events. Karis Deen moves events along. Godfredo and Paco are family friends with ulterior motives. Larry Roebuck is an ambitious Ambassador. A government agent and a Chinese diplomat provide tension and mystery.
The writer offers a multifaceted tale with many subplots molded together into a realistic chronology of events that could occur in our present era. I like the complicated plot moves that take entertaining pace although the story gets bogged down in details at different points. What I like most is that the plot develops through events created by characters who become tangled together as their strengths and weaknesses develop. The use of backstory is effective in building tension. The perspective of the book is international business at a personal level. Dialogue is subtle and helpful in showing the sensitivity of the characters. Although not a travelogue, the scenes depicted give a good feel of life and activities in that Central American country. Panamanian culture shines through the tale complete with sights and sounds.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Giving the book this rating assures that a reader will learn much about the Panama Canal, the intricacies of industrial espionage, and the intrigue of persons caring enough to get involved with one another. I recommend the book to someone in the business world interested in subtle details of the deals that result in business contracts.
Reading a book like this does much to stretch the knowledge of the reader and introduce him or her to the intricacies of international business affairs. The reader will be enriched.
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