The Cry of the Halidon by Robert Ludlum

The Cry of the HalidonSummary: A geologist is paid to survey Jamaica by a secret cabal of financiers that wants to take over the island and create their own country.  MI-5 enlists him to get to the bottom of the plot.

People familiar with the very popular Jason Bourne movies may be aware of the name Robert Ludlum.  He was the author of the original books.  He wrote 23 novels in his lifetime under a couple different pseudonyms and sold 300-500 million books in 33 languages.

I read the first three Bourne books a few years before the movies came out.  (The movies are very good, the books are very good, but they are only slightly related to one another in content.)

I knew the next Bourne movie was coming out soon so I decided to pick up another Ludlum book.  After the first three Bourne books all other Bourne books have been written by Eric Van Lustbader who licensed the characters. (Ludlum died in 2001 from injuries that he sustained in a fire.)

Ludlum likes to write about grand conspiracies, large corporations with secret agendas, shadowy spy agencies and other extremists.

The Cry of the Halidon is one of his earlier books.  I saw that it was on audiobook at my library and picked it up without reading any reviews first.  It was not nearly as good as the Bourne books.

The concept is fine.  Alex McAuliff is a geologist that is secretly hired by a wealthy group of financiers to survey Jamaica so that they can take over the island and create their own country.  MI-5 reveals their plan to McAuliff to try to get to the bottom of the plot.  McAuliff is quickly trained in the basics of spy trade craft and sent to Jamaica.

The plot gets much thicker.  There is a girl that McAuliff falls in love with, but she is never really developed that well and other than being a person for McAuliff to try and save is not much involved in the real plot.  Another secret group is revealed with even more resources than the bankers and they do not want Jamaica to be taken over.

Overall this is supposed to be a suspenseful book but never really takes off.  The end is better than the beginning, but it is not a book I would recommend.  It was written in the early 1970s, which seems a bit late to me to be so colonial in mindset.  There are some very overt racist and sexist parts of the book, but they are not really important parts of the book.

I would encourage you to read the original Bourne books.  They are pretty good, although quite dated in the Cold War.  In order they are The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum

The Cry of the Halidon Purchase Links: Paperback, Audiobook, Abridged Audiobook

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