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I have been a fan of Robert Ludlum for a number of years now. I have read quite a few of his books and the majority have a similar structure to them. The one thing you know you are going to get with one of his books is a damn good read, and he doesn't disappoint here. The Bancroft Strategy was published in 2006, as one of 6 books to be done so posthumously. Ludlum died in 2001, leaving a number of unfinished/unpublished manuscripts which an unnamed ghost writer has since finished. The Bancroft Strategy is one of my favourite novels of his.
Todd Belknap and Jared Rhinehart are the best pairing the US government has in terms of Special Consular Operations agents. The pair are known as Castor and Pollux, after the twin guardians of Rome. When Pollux/Rhinehart is abducted during a botched operation, Belknap is blamed by his senior, Will Garrison, and is suspended. Special Cons Ops refuse to go after Pollux, believing the fallout to be too large, so Belknap, named the Hound due to his ability to find anyone, anywhere, goes after his friend to rescue him on his own.
Meanwhile, economist Andrea Bancroft receives a strange phone call telling her she has inherited 12 million dollars, with the only stipulation being that she sits on the board for the Bancroft Corporation, a secret group that seemingly serves to aid the world by spending money on the improvement of civilisation.
However, all is not how it seems on the surface, and Belknap and Bancroft must reluctantly join forces to achieve both their ends.
Ludlum has a way of making the reader not want to put the book down at the same time as giving an astonishing amount of technical and expansive detail to everything going on. Conspiracy is always at the heart of his books, and this one is no exception. The character development all round is done very well, with Belknap and Bancroft intermingling and providing a high level of sexual tension mixed with distrust. The characters are very believable, and the frustrations felt by them come through the page and I found myself frustrated and annoyed for the characters!
The book is a shade over 500 pages long, which is about standard for a Ludlum novel, and there are twists and turns along the way, some predictable, some not, but part of the fun is guessing along the way. Ludlum provides enough mystery amongst the predictable to get the balance right.
The book is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.54 in paperback, or £17.09 hardback.