I don't generally push myself to read 600 page books in a few days but this is exactly what I did with Robert Ludlum's The Matarese Countdown, the rather disappointing twenty-years-later sequel to The Matarese Circle.
I'd already read a few Robert Ludlum aka Jonathan Ryder aka Michael Shepherd books and, just recently, have been obsessed with the last books he wrote. The most relevant being the posthumously published The Sigma Protocal about a group of world financiers who are keeping themselves alive with age-defying bio-technology. It's allegedly based on the Bilderberg Group financial think-tank, but we all know that Ludlum was just a story teller with no connection to the Intelligence Services and his books were 'flights of fantasy', nothing more.
Man, if the stuff in Ludlum's books was at all relevant to the Way The Real World Works, then the very strange assassination of John Charles de Menezes on the London Underground and Iraq weapons inspector Dr David Kelly's suicide in the woods near Oxford and the number of recent airline crashes, terrorist attacks and weather disasters would all be part of a sinister plot from shadowy organisations within governments to overthrow the modern world and plunge its inhabitants, You The People, into a Conglomerate State global gulag of work as hard as you can until the machine kills you. Which we all know, hope in our heart of hearts, isn't so, right?
In The Matarese Circle, a book from a younger spritelier author published in 1979, allegedly based on Ludlum's research into the Trilateral Commission, the narrative cracks along at a manly pace as Brandon Scofield aka Beowolf Agate tries to stop the ascent of FAKE PRESIDENT, a Corsican Mafia charlatan called the Shepherd aka the Jackal, being voted in as POTUS. Many conspiracy researchers are rattling on about Barack Hussein Obama aka Barry Soetoro being a foreign national who used to work for the CIA in Afghanistan with Osama Bin Laden aka Tim Osman, but again this is clearly part of some 'larger narrative' of international lie and counterlie.
In Ludlum's follow-up The Matarese Countdown, a much slower (tedious) book published in 1999, Brandon Scofield is dragged out of self-imposed exile on some Caribbean island to once again foil the rising phoenix of the Matarese inheritance. As I've said, I was rather disappointed with the narrative events of this sequel. Circle was fraught with narrative dead ends and 'how can he survive this' while Countdown just happened, scripting by numbers. It was the all-too-smooth routing of the remaining members of the Shepherd's family, the tying off of any tattered arteries the earlier book might have left.
Countdown is centred around the Amsterdam business world - I didn't realise Amsterdam was so fundamental to world finance. I mean, mainstream media reminds us of the financial centres London and New York and Tokyo on a daily basis but we rarely hear about Amsterdam's role on the corporate gambling table. In fact, we rarely hear about the Corsican Mafia even though there's been something of a turf war since 2008 with many deaths among the various warring factions. There's an enigmatic symbol in the book dealing with The Mediterranean Fires (but it can't be ignored that THE WORLD IS BURNING RIGHT NOW) and this got me to thinking, "What is a Robert Ludlum book?"
Ludlum's supposed to have had NO CONNECTION to the Intelligence Services even though he knows AN AWFUL LOT about the political setup of each novel's era. It's like he has his finger on a pulse none of us 'mere mortals' can find, a special vein of intel accessible to only VIP guests. One can only wonder what would have been Ludlum's very public reaction to the atrocious 9-11 event, had he lived just six months more. So, is Ludlum some latter day Nostradamus or seer? It's gotta be something like this, he bullseyed our demise with every new book.
Meh, it's all a load of obfuscated crap anyway, as we've already surmised. There is no many-tentacled OCTOPUS ruling the world from, say, The City of Amsterdam who have a fabian agenda to rid the world of elected governments so that their all-pervasive feudal Conglomerates can ruin the free market, fixing peoples minds the way they want them, bringing down established businesses all over the world, merging those that remain, collapsing the global economy and subjecting You The People to millennia of financial terrorism in the (false) name of Efficiency and Dividend for the ruling elite.
Don't be daft, eh?