A Craig Page Thriller
By Allan Topol
Hard on the heels of The Russian Endgame and The Washington Lawyer comes author Allan Topol’s next great thriller, THE ITALIAN DIVIDE (SelectBooks; March 15, 2016). When the prominent Italian banker Frederico Castiglione is murdered in an apparent jewelry robbery gone wrong, things are not what they seem. Former CIA director Craig Page is enjoying his new life as Italian race car driver Enrico Marino – but when he hears that his friend and sponsor has been found dead, he suspects foul play. Shortly after Castiglione’s death, fellow Italian banker Alberto Goldoni is asked to sell—or else.
Page embarks on an investigation to solve the riddles underlying Castiglione’s murder, but the pieces don’t quite fit. The murderers are Russian, but the takeovers are based in China, and somehow Robert Parelli, the Italian separatist candidate for president, is involved.
With the help of journalist Elizabeth Crowder, CIA Director Betty Richards, and Director of the EU Counterterrorism Agency Giuseppe Mercurio, Page discovers a complicated web of mysterious political and financial takeovers across Italy, all linked back to his sworn enemy, Zhou Yun.
In THE ITALIAN DIVIDE, loyalties lie deep and dangerous alliances are made to be broken. Allan Topol’s latest Craig Page thriller is an electrifying foray into the world of international intrigue. Against blackmail, extortion, and treason, can Page still prevail?
Allan Topol The Italian Divide is Topol’s 12th novel of international intrigue; Spy Dance and Enemy My Enemy, were national best sellers. His novels have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese and Hebrew. One was optioned and three are in development for movies. More recently, his books had focused on his Craig Page series, including The Argentine Triangle, The Russian Endgame, Spanish Revenge and China Gambit.
In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise titled Superfund Law and Procedure. A graduate of Yale Law School, he is a partner in a major Washington law firm, and an avid wine collector, he has traveled extensively, researching dramatic locations for his novels. He wrote a weekly column for Military.com and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He also has blogged for Huffington Post. For more information, visit www.allantopol.com.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. I have a desire to tell an entertaining story and keep readers up at night turning pages. At the same time I want to educate and inform readers about geopolitical issues in different parts of the world.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. I enjoy the creativity—both creating characters and developing a story. Writing the first draft is exciting and the most fun in the process.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. The need to review repeatedly and revise draft after draft, wanting to make certain that each word is the best one and to eliminate errors in the novel.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I have been very fortunate in that I have had two careers. At the same time I have written my twelve novels, I have been a lawyer in a large Washington law firm. These two professions, lawyer and novelist work well together. From my law practice, I have obtained ideas and met people that I can utilize in my books. Also, having a second career means I do not have the pressure of having to look at a blank page every morning. I write when I can and when I am inspired by my stories to do so.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Enjoying Every Moment.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Craig Page. He has appeared in five of my books including the new one, The Italian Divide. Like Craig, I resent bureaucrats; do not suffer fools; want to do things my own way if that is the best way to resolve a problem.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. This book, which was recently published, takes place in Milan Italy, one of my favorite cities, and also in the area near Lake Orta in northern Italy. Both of these areas are featured in The Italian Divide; and I would love to spend time visiting the places which Eco writes about.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Spring. The air is crisp and beautiful. It is a time of rebirth and a time that fosters creativity.
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. My favorite book cover is the one on The Italian Divide. The artist who did the work captured the essence of the book and generated a feeling of suspense.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I met someone who I had gone to grade school with and had not seen in many years. I live in Washington and he lives in the Los Angeles area. Coincidentally, he ended up at my book signing and we had a chance to catch up on events from many years ago.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. Over the last several years, I have had one new book each year. I am trying to remain on that pace. In order to do that, I have a number of different projects underway. The newest one is a sequel to my novel, The Washington Lawyer, which was published last year and which did very well commercially. I hadn’t intended to write a sequel, however, with the commercial success of The Washington Lawyer, that seemed like a good way to go. I wanted to make this story sufficiently different, so the lead character, Kelly Cameron, a young FBI agent, who had only a cameo appearance in The Washington Lawyer, is the protagonist of this new novel.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. I very much hope that you will try The Italian Divide, and that you will also look at my website, www.allantopol.com. You will notice that it has a reader mail and I love to get feedback from readers. The other point I would like to make is that even though The Italian Divide is the fifth novel involving my characters, Craig and Elizabeth, it is very much a stand-alone novel and it’s not necessary for the reader to have read any of the earlier Craig Page books.