Finished Reading: The Road to Gandolfo

Robert Ludlum

Good evening all. Wow… that took way longer than I expected or planned. Just finished the last of this wonderful book this morning. Anyone who’s read anything by the Borne Triology author will probably appreciate the writing, but recognize a bit more whimsy and humor in this Caper-like story of an ousted Lt. General in the first years after the Vietnam War and the more nuanced beginning of the Cold War.

Mackenzie Hawkins doesn’t take long licking his wounds for being shunted away and out of the Army after 30+ yrs of faithful and mostly clandestine service. He’s got a business to start and run… and a Pope to kidnap and replace!!

My mom always wanted me to read both this book and his follow up The Road to Omaha, written in ’92 under his own name. You may know the author and his writing better as the original creator or Jason Bourne thru his trilogy The Bourne Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum. These have been classic for me and my bookshelf since high school and when my parents first encouraged me to read them.

But Hawkins….

This book read like one of Peter Mayle’s Caper books that I’ve read. The Vinage Caper and the Versailles Caper both had that kind of Oceans 11 vibe that had me hooked from the first page to the very last. Gandalfo by Shepherd, Robert Ludlum’s nom de plume for a couple of his earlier books, felt the same way. Even after the final plot twist was revealed and discovered, I still wanted to see it play out and enjoy the ending that I kind of figured out was coming.

So… back to Gandolfo.

The story is a comical one with a war decorated hero general getting in trouble for desecrating, or being accused of desecrating, a statue in Beijing China. He’s unfairly dismissed from an illustrious and iconic career as an appeasement to the Chinese government during a post Vietnam war trade negotiations. The book jacket says the general, Mackenzie Hawkins… or just Hawk… then lends his considerable experience, expertise and talents to help in a caper to kidnap the Pope for ransom… (what??)

The ransom part didn’t quite work out as Hawk planned, but it did end up working out. I loved this book and can’t wait to start The Road to Omaha next.

What are you reading? Have you read this book? Have you read any Robert Ludlum? In the bucket down below. You know what to do.

-mike