The Russian Endgame by Allan Topol (Book Review)

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In The Russian Endgame, the third and last book in his Craig Page trilogy, Director of EU Counterterrorism Craig Page, along with Elizabeth Crowder, is out to get vengeance on the Chinese General Zhou, and also thwart the attempts of former KGB agent, Dmitri Orlov, from a plot to assassinate the President of the United States and seizing classified military weaponry capable of shifting the balance of world power.

Author Allan Topol has written a thrill-packed roller-coaster of a novel which is sure to keep you awake late into the night turning the pages. It’s a thriller which shifts back and forth between four main settings, Moscow, Beijing, Paris, and Washington, with exotic locales like Indonesia and Bali thrown in for good measure.

Dmitri Orlov has amassed a fortune through his KGB activities and connections, and his sister is sleeping with General Zhou. Orlov develops a scheme to meet with President Kuznov of Russia, who is an old acquaintance/friend of his. Orlov wants to convince Kuznov to go along with a plan which will eventually result in an alliance between Russia and China, and then to Russia gaining world dominance, and the collapse of America.

Craig Page, who is living in Paris, France at the outset of the novel, wants to have General Zhou extradited to Spain to stand trial for his involvement in trying to take over Spain in the second book of the series, Spanish Revenge (the first book is The China Gambit).

However, there is no extradition agreement between Indonesia and Spain, so Craig Page decides to kidnap General Zhou with the help of a team of other men and bring him back to Spain. It is a great idea, but General Zhou gets warned, and he has extra guards flown in from China to prepare for the assault.

When Zhou escapes being kidnapped, Craig believes that what was perhaps his best chance to get revenge on him for murdering his only daughter, Francesca, is gone. But, he will find that he has other opportunities ahead of him, and that his efforts are needed to try to prevent Orlov from gaining the advanced military technology he’s after, assassinating the President, and bringing about the end of the United States as we know it.

Eventually, Orlov’s plan looks like it’s coming to fruition. General Zhou does become the new President of China, and meets with Orlov to discuss how best to put the rest of their plans into motion.

President Zhou demands that Orlov prove that he is sincere in their common goal to bring America to its knees. The way he can show his sincerity is through assassinating U.S. President Dalton.

In the meantime, Craig Page is advancing in his career, and has become the new CIA Director. The President of the U.S. is Treadwell – he defeated Dalton in the last election. Page works to gather evidence that Zhou is involved in the plot to destroy America.

Page and the journalist, Elizabeth Crowder, join up to try to stop Zhou before he can use Orlov as his tool to steal the advanced military technology that I’ve already mentioned.

The Russian Endgame is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, and reading it is like a rush of adrenaline in your veins. The characters are three-dimensional and believable, and it’s a book you won’t want to put down. It can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, though I highly recommend that you also check out the first two books in Topol’s Craig Page trilogy, The China Gambit and Spanish Revenge.

Written by: Douglas Cobb