Day of Absolution

John Gardner, Author
John Gardner, Author Scribner Book Company $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-684-82461-1
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7432-1971-6
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7278-5808-5
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The venerable author of more than 40 novels (including 14 in the James Bond series) is back in full force after a hiatus. His new spy thriller imagines a delightfully erotic and complex web involving biblical scholarship and international political intrigue. Unlikely May-December newlyweds--Brits Bex Olesker, a sensual young antiterrorist cop, and her hubby, Charlie Gauntlet, a retired but ever-adventurous secret agent--are rudely robbed of honeymoon bliss when duty calls Bex from their bed. Sent to catch a world-class assassin called Alchemist before he can carry out a contract on the president of the Federation of Russian Republics, Bex shadows the hitman's girl Friday from Dublin to a hideaway on the Swiss shore of Lake Maggiore. Meanwhile, Charles is recruited to fly to a remote monastery off the shores of Scotland to validate the authenticity of a set of ancient scrolls purported to have been written days before Christ's crucifixion by a prostitute whom Jesus knew. Charlie is dubious when he recognizes the father superior from one of his first military assignments in a post-WWII displaced persons camp. Charlie's instinct is proven right when he discovers that the monastery is being used to launder large sums of dirty money linked to Chermyet, the Russian mafia chief who has hired the hit on the president. The ensuing action reunites the honeymooners in London as Alchemist moves to kill the visiting Russian. Richly textured, wonderfully atmospheric and ironical, the novel shows Gardner as a smooth, polished master of the form. Agent, Lisa Moylett. (Sept.)
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