4 out of 4 stars
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Rising from the ashes of the suicide of both parents, forsaking the comfort of a future marriage with Sarah and the security of a plum job with his future father-in-law, Dr Max Burns, a geomatics engineer led the technical team that won the most coveted contract bid for the expansion of the Panama Canal. The financial sponsors were his long time school friend Godfredo Rocco and the
self acclaimed master-at- cutting deals, Godfredo's father, Paco.
As soon as work started on the site, little did Max know that he would be embroiled in high profile manipulation, betrayals, intrigues, clandestine activities of secret service agents and even murder. Excuses were made to stall progress at the site which would have jeopardized the whole project had the Chinese gone through with their plan to build a canal across the Lago Nicaragua in the southern part of the country.
Meanwhile, as Max took up the offer to play golf with the China ambassador, Steven Zhang, an unlikely bond developed between them on the one hand, and an interestingly intense though brief relationship with Karis Deen, a postgraduate biologist of the Tropical Research Institute, Panama on the other. He however later discovered she was an agent on espionage assignment.
The twists and turns and the element of surprise in the story are expertly executed. The level to which government executives will go to display their 'patriotism' is revealed. The weird father-son relationship of the Roccos and the together-in-death bond of the Burns, Max's parents,
will pique the reader's imagination. The story was woven on a beautiful carpet of sight and sound of one of the best vacation spots in the world, Panama, a city Christoph knows so well. Therefore, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars.
For me, Christoph Martin's in depth analysis of the psychology of human and family relationships added flavour to the storyline which leaves the reader wanting more at the end of the story. I would love to know what will happen to Max and Karis' relationship as well as the Chinese government's interest to build a canal across the Lago Nicaragua. I will not be surprised if a movie is born out of this story.
Christoph exposed the scary and inhuman side of what governments of countries they call 'diplomacy' and 'diplomatic moves' which are made to gain superiority over others regardless of whatever means employed to achieve it. Except you ever worked closely with the upper echelons of government, these sort of manoeuvres are not easily detected but they exist. And Christoph gives us a glimpse into this.
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