At the beginning of The Argentine Triangle, featuring Alan Topol’s CIA operative, Craig Page, we find that he has become the head of the CIA. His tenure in office is all too brief, though, as President Treadwell and his friend and adviser, trial lawyer Edward Bryce, call him to the White House with the intent of throwing him under the bus. They want to lay the blame on Page for the Moscow operation that resulted in the death of President Zhou, and to label it as being a “rogue operation,” even though Treadwell had given it the go-ahead in Topol’s book, The Russian Endgame.
President Zhou’s brother, Zhou Yun, doesn’t believe the oficial story that President Zhou had a heart attack. Zhou Yun is a wealthy businessman who Craig Page describes to President Treadwell as beinf “every bit as evil and ruthless as his brother.”
Zhou Yun learned what really happened, that the former KGB agent Orlov had shot his brother in the chest, murdering him “to avenge the death of Orlov’s gorgeous sister, Androshka.” Treadwell informs Page that Zhou Yun is blaming him for his brother’s death, “Even though Orlov fired the gun.”
Craig Page knows that Zhou Yun will try to do anything he can to have him killed, so after his being forced out of the CIA, Page travels to Switzerland to get plastic surgery done. Then, he journeys to Italy, to start over his new identity, as race car driver Enrico Marino. He is fluent in Italian, and he incorporates the aid of “Paolo Fittipaldi, one of the best retired race car drivers,” to instruct him and teach him how to become accomplished enough to pass himself off as the real deal.
However, after Craig Page wrecks his Jaguar trying to navigate a sharp turn during an outburst of rain in Sardinia, and wakes up in the hospital with a few relatively minor injuries, fate intervenes to bring him back into the fold of the CIA, at least, temporarily.
Betty Richards, a friend of Page’s and the new head of the CIA, travels to Sardinia to enlist his aid in rescuing one of Craig Page’s friends, fellow CIA agent, Ted Dunn, who got called out of retirement by Richards to investigate what a certain General Estrada was up to in Argentina. Estrada had been involved in the Dirty Wars that had taken place in Argentina, wars in which ordinary Argentinian citizens were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered, people who were called “enemies of the regime,” and who were labeled as being “Communists.”
Craig Page goes undercover in Argentina
Though Page is reluctant to go undercover in Argentina, he eventually relents, after Betty Richards fills him in on more details. She tells him that Ted Dunn was on the brink of discovering more about Estrada and how he was getting the funds to update the Argentinian army when he was captured by General Estrada’s forces. Richards says that no word has since been heard about Dunn, but that his wife, who is also a friend of Page’s, personally had requested for him to help bring her husband back home. That is the only reason Page agrees to go along with the plan to rescue Dunn, that, and to try to get some small degree of satisfaction against his nemesis, Edwards.
This mission is one that is totally being organized by Betty Richards, without the knowledge of anyone in the White House. That’s good, as Bryce Edwards is one of the wealthy people who have been financing General Estrada and making sure he’s supplied with American weapons. Edwards is not necessarily evil, but he definitely has his own agenda.
Craig Page has an idea to change his identity yet again, though nothing as drastic as plastic surgery will be required. He suggests to Richards that his cover will be that he’s an ultra-wealthy “head of a private equity firm in the United States” who has “ten billion dollars to invest.” His cover would include his considering about “investing some or all of it in Argentina.”
Before Page travels to Buenos Aires (BA), he meets with Washington, D.C. based reporter for the BA daily newspaper La Nación, the young and attractive Gina Galindo, who has been having an affair with Bryce Edwards. Page wants to get an indication of what sort of person she really is, and if she is being funded by General Estrada. He meets with her at a posh restaurant a night when he believes she had a “date” scheduled with Edwards, to get in a dig against his nemesis. He also needed a way to plant a couple of bugs in her apartment, so that another of his friends, Tim Fuller, could collect the information the bugs gathered and then computers also would make written transcripts.
In The Argentine Triangle, Craig Page goes undercover to expose the evil schemes of Argentinian General Alfredo Estrada and his sidekick, Colonel Schiller, to remodel Argentina, and the world, to his own liking, whatever the cost might be in human lives. When his cover gets blown, Craig Page finds himself having to rely on some unexpected allies to stay alive and put a stop to Estrada’s egomaniacal plans. If you love to read pulse-quickening, suspenseful international thrillers, you can do no better than Allan Topol’s action-packed latest Craig Page novel, The Argentine Triangle.
Written by: Douglas Cobb