by Edith Cody-Rice
Gerard de Villiers was the late twentieth century French version of Ian Fleming, writing some 200 spy novels about the adventures of his hero: Austrian nobleman and freelance CIA operative Malko Linge. Malko is an Austrian (or French as the books are in French) James Bond, with all the characteristics of a Bond hero, including the life style. De Villiers, who died in 2013, frequently took current events as his theme and built stories around actual situations. The books have sold millions of copies.
Revenge of the Kremlin, written in the year of de Villier’s death, takes for its central event the death of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky who, in real life, died under mysterious circumstances in his English home in Surrey. Berezovsky was a supporter, then opponent, of Vladimir Putin, who sought asylum in the United Kingdom from Putin’s vengeance. The UK refused to deport him to Russia, despite Russian government requests. Beresovsky’s death was initially ruled a suicide by hanging, but the coroner later delivered an open verdict, which suggests a suspicious death in a situation when no positive evidence can be found to prove its cause.
In Revenge of the Kremlin, which de Villiers obviously wrote shortly after the death, the assumption is made that Vladimir Putin personally ordered Beresovsky’s murder. Malko Linge is sent to find evidence of it. Despite the fact that the audience knows the basic event on which the book is based, de Villiers can create a suspense filled story. The book also implicates the current British Prime Minister David Cameron in a plot with Russia to cover up the 2006 Litvinenko radiation poisoning murder, notorious in England, in exchange for British commercial contracts in Russia, including the contract for security at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. I am surprised Cameron has not sued the publisher.
This is, I would say, a guy book. Like Bond novels, it is a male fantasy or so I assume. Malko is wealthy (0wns a castle in Austria), has a wealthy fiancee (to show some social status and stability), a stable of beautiful sexually available women and a taste for danger. Of the five women who appear in the book, all but two are wealthy, beautiful, sleek, high living women and available for both standard and kinky sex. One of two remaining is poor, but has had a past affair with Malko and other is an innocent looking prostitute with a spectacular body. Sex, described in great detail from a male point of view, appears early and often. The only woman who is not described as having sex with Malko is his fiancee, briefly mentioned and this only, I imagine, because she is away when Malko goes back to Austria.
This is the third of de Villier’s many books to be translated into English. It is an airport read and discard book, which will not hurt sales.