About The Phoenix Year:
“… from out of the fire, would rise a new order, like the legend of the phoenix. There would emerge a new world, a new super economy…”
So starts a sequence of events destined to rock world economies to their very core. On the 50th anniversary of their induction into the Society of the Phoenix, a group of billionaires is about to change the world dramatically, with devastating effect. Overseen by the reclusive Heinrich Von Kleise, the Society has hatched an audacious plan to subvert world economies, by using and abusing some of the world’s wealthiest businessmen and their families; in some cases, holding them literally to ransom, or worse. Michael Ross, an economic advisor to the US President, Ben Masters, a disgraced property tycoon, Natalya Avramowitz, a Russian economist and spy, and “Kim” a CIA Agent, find themselves at the center of this plot, involving inside trading, sex slavery, and political corruption. As the world careens towards financial Armageddon, can Michael, Natalya and Kim prevent global disintegration, or are the world’s financial institutions fated to implode? The Phoenix Year by David L. Blond is a gripping novel, encompassing many of the financial crises that have hit the headlines in the past decade. The author has skillfully woven these together to create an action-packed conspiracy thriller that smacks of reality and future possibility.
I received a digital copy of The Phoenix Year in exchange for an honest review.
David Blond’s novel The Phoenix Year has all the makings of a Robert Ludlum political espionage thriller, but lacks some of the finesse that Ludlum possesses.
I found the story to be a little difficult to follow as it interwove many different characters, and aspects of their personalities did not always stay consistent. At first, I thought perhaps I was confusing characters in my mind—there are a lot of characters involved. That may still have been the case, but there were some times where I still felt characters acted outside of the way they’d been presented. This lent to a sense of inconsistency to me, which likely made the book harder for me to read and stay engaged with.
That said, the storyline itself was intriguing and had some very interesting political theories. It is set in a contemporary time, so it was completely relatable on that front. Both the politics and the economics discussed made sense for the setting. Sometimes I felt that Mr. Blond got a little too detailed about some of the economics—there was one chapter that almost read like an economics textbook and, while interesting (if you’re into that kind of thing), nearly pulled me completely from the story. Granted, I admit that I am fairly naïve about the world of the stock market (which would have made my father sad, given that was one of his professions), and that likely played a role into how well—or not well—I was able to follow along. It is very apparent that Mr. Blond is highly knowledgable about these subjects, and there were several times that he explained a particular commodities maneuver in creative ways so as to increase the level of understanding.
The interwoven plot lines are intricately portrayed. Of all of the characters, I enjoyed Natalya the most. Her relationship with Michael is very complicated, and it’s portrayed well. Her background is absolutely fascinating and so detailed that I often found myself wondering if she was based on someone real, someone Mr. Blond was intimately involved with. It’s rare to find a male writer who can write a woman so well. It sounds (and feels) sexist in a way to say that, but I feel it’s true. Many authors come close, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like Mr. Blond really captured such a complex character extremely well. It was the best part of the book, for me.
Generally speaking, political thrillers are not my genre of choice. Every now and then, however, I do enjoy a good Ludlum or Clancy novel, and I would put this book up near those ranks. I would be willing to read more of Blond’s work—though, I would hope others would have less economics study and more intrigue. Overall, my biggest complaint came in the editing. There were several errors, and had this been an ARC, I likely would have overlooked them and not commented. Unless I am mistaken and the copy I was given was not the final product available for sale, in which case I will happily change my grade in the score above, and this comment.
All in all, I would say that if you’re a fan of these kinds of books, you can’t go wrong with this one. This is not a book to just sit back and idly read, however. It is very involved, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul!
About the Author:
Dr. David Blond works as a private economic consultant specializing in quantitative analysis of economic data. He began his career working for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. During the period of 1978 – 1985, he was a Senior Economist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and after leaving that position worked for various major global economic forecasting and consulting firms. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.