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Book Review: Cobra Gold by Damien Lewis

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It is a fact that in 1976 there was a daring bank robbery staged in Beirut, Lebanon. A huge amount of gold bullion was removed and neither the perpetrators nor the gold has ever been found. Damien Lewis uses this as the backdrop to his fictional account not only of how the heist was performed, but also the aftermath of the events as they unfold years later in his new blockbuster Cobra Gold. Damien is no novice to the authoring world, and has been hugely successful in the UK marketplace, his writing style is accomplished, and the plot and character development masterful. This is a high octane story that propels the reader at breakneck speed through a world of intrigue, greed, and terrorism. I suspect that Cobra Gold may be his well deserved big break into the North American book market, I’ll be watching the New York Times bestseller list for this one.
The premise behind the plot is that the heist was actually carried out by a rogue unit of the elite British SAS. This merry band of marauders led by the renegade Kilbride are tasked with a mission. They have to break into a bank in the middle of war torn Beirut and ‘liberate’ the contents of some safety deposit boxes that are thought to contain information about a shadowy terrorist group called the Black Assassins.

Of course if this is the bank where they keep their papers, it is also the bank where they keep their loot, and rumor has it the loot is in the form of gold bullion to the tune of $50 million. Kilbride and his partners in crime figure that the gold would make a nice nest egg for their retirement years and set about incorporating it into their sanctioned mission.

Once into the bank they make a remarkable discovery: there is way more gold than they had expected, almost 18 tons of gold! Even for 9 SAS solders, moving and stashing this amount of loot is a daunting task, it is not something that is going to fit in your kitbag!

To reveal more about this raucous tale would spoil the surprises, but I will tell you this much, that is just the opening scenario to the book! There are all sorts of twists and turns in Cobra Gold. In some ways I found the writing style to be a little like early Tom Clancy, but without the boring and tedious techno drivel that Clancy loves to incorporate. Damien Lewis sticks to what the reader wants, action, action, and yet more action,

This is a powerhouse of a book, if you are headed off on vacation put this one in your luggage and while sipping cold beers on that tropical beach treat yourself to this wild tale of derring-do.

About Simon Barrett