Wall of War is New Brunswick author Allan Hudson’s follow-up to Dark Side of a Promise and is the second book in the Drake Alexander Series. I read Dark Side of a Promise, a copy of which was kindly provided by Mr. Hudson approximately one year ago, in December 2016.
While action-adventure novels are not typically my genre of choice, I nevertheless found it a ‘good read’ stating (at Goodreads):
“If you like action, adventure in various locales and don’t mind f-bombs, violence, sexual abuse and other disquieting themes then Dark Side of a Promise will appeal to you.”
I’m happy to say none of the above is applicable to Wall of War (aside from having action and adventure in different locales). The onus in Wall of War is more on intrigue and action than it is on the evil that men do.
This review is based on the Kindle eBook which I purchased from Amazon.ca.
A Good Start
The introductory chapter of Wall of War, “1953” had me so captivated from the beginning that I don’t think I exhaled until the last full stop. Mr. Hudson has done an admirable job of tightening up the script, omitting a lot of needless details about various types of boats, planes, communication systems and weapons that the casual reader might find bothersome. (However, if you are a globetrotting mercenary or imagine being one, then you’ll appreciate the details he does provide!)
Drake Alexander’s world is the stuff of Hollywood movies: personally wealthy, wealthy friends, beautiful women (who know how to kill, too), cars, planes and boats and a supportive cast of fellow mercenaries (they unite to bring global criminals to justice). Drake divides his time between Massachusetts (where he was born), New Brunswick, and his friend’s huge yacht belonging to lawyer, communications expert and high school chum Williston Payne. Living at Drakes’ palatial Cocagne, New Brunswick home is the Pisconte family: Luis, who is mechanically inclined and his wife Jemina, the house manager who is like a mother to Drake, although she is only eight years older than he is. They are a family that Drake’s father rescued from a life of poverty in Peru in return for an act of kindness that Luis performed for the senior Drake many years ago. Their son Miguel has become a priest and is currently officiating at a small parish in Peru. The Piscontes are like family to Drake; he has grown up with them and loves them unreservedly.
Miguel, while doing some renovation work of the church finds some parchments and a gold Incan dagger concealed in the ceiling. They were put there in 1953 by Father Suetonius Graft who discovered a huge Incan carving in a rock cave while scaling a mountainside in the Andes:
He brings the beam back to the wall in front of him. When he moves it up, he steps back, eyes wide in shock at what he sees. Even through the dust of ages, through the fine patina that masks the surface, he can detect, carved ornately into the facade of the flat wall, a huge warrior with battle axe raised above his head. Fine detail riddles the helmet fitted on his head. The figure stands with a fractured shield, armour dressing his lower limbs. One leg is raised, with a sandaled foot resting on a fallen foe. The body of the fighter’s enemy lies at his feet, the severed head close by. Father Graft wheezes into the gloom, “It’s a wall of war.”
However, Father Graft died in a car accident before anybody knew about the treasure. Fast forward now to the year 2004. Miguel tells Teodoro Delapaz, a novice priest with a sketchy past and an avaricious nature about the find. Eager to please his like-minded mother, he tells her, although sworn to secrecy by Miguel. Teodoro’s mother needs the money to pay off a large debt she owes to an elegant, well-attired but shady character by the name of Turi Salcedo. Turmoil and intrigue ensue and Miguel is on the run, for he has possession of the parchments which tell the general location of the find. He manages to call Drake who quickly organizes a manhunt before Turi and his henchmen can find Miguel.
That’s all I can tell you without getting into “spoilers”! What I can tell you that with Wall of War, you have an excellent story that doesn’t get bogged down at any point and keeps the reader turning page after page. The action takes place almost exclusively in Peru, so there’s no continent-jumping and forgetting who is where and so on. Wall of War is a taut, intriguing, action-filled adventure novel perfect for long winter nights (or summer beach reading). Mr. Hudson has set the bar high for himself if a third installment in the Drake Alexander series is planned. Four stars at Goodreads.