Shortly after an explosive op-ed piece about the 9/11 investigation appears in the New York Times, its author, former senator and co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Commission John Billington, is murdered near his Florida home. Enter Tony Ramos, ex-Special Forces operative, former aid to Senator Billington, and currently a State Department intelligence analyst.
Billington, having sensed the danger he faced, has left Ramos detailed instructions for an investigation into suspected Saudi complicity in 9/11. Ramos, in conjunction with Billington's daughter Laura, uncovers a shocking international conspiracy linking the Saudi Kingdom to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
Despite efforts to derail their investigation, whose scope encompasses Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Ramos and Laura discover that the Kingdom has recently provided bin Laden and al-Qaeda with three nuclear devices, two of which are successfully detonated by the terrorists overseas. But they were just a warmup to the grand finale. The third device, Ramos learns, will be detonated off the California coast. Now Ramos and a team of Special Forces must race against time to prevent al-Qaeda from unleashing nuclear disaster on American shores and beyond.
What would have made Keys to the Kingdom better?
SPOILER (but it really needs spoiled to save you the read): To be better the book needed even vaguely realistic characters and activities: Vain, self-absorbed, famous photographer becomes master spy - instantaneously. Main character works for state department - becomes one man savior of the world by going undercover all alone and without government help. Too dumb to realize he should take precautions since people are trying to kill him and others, so he doesn't and people around him keep dying. But smart enough to save the world. At nuclear brink Pakistan and India can't contact each other so he gets on a bus and rides for 20 hours to give his phone to the Indian president to talk to Pakistan. When nuclear device is found to be on container ship heading to America for detonation do they send Navy Seals? Naval ships? No - the photographer goes in - and arms the nuke and blows it up off the U.S. coast. No effort to save ship or crew who were innocents. Arm the unarmed nuke and blow it up!
Has Keys to the Kingdom turned you off from other books in this genre?
No. Just to be more observant of quality. I heard good things about this and admired Sen. Graham and thought he could bring his special knowledge and background to the book. Good info involved, terrible writing.
What about George K. Wilson’s performance did you like?
I had no problem with the performance, just the material he had to perform.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Keys to the Kingdom?
Any additional comments?
I didn't want to give up on the book. I kept waiting from 1/3 to 1/2 way on for it to get better. To become vaguely realistic in characters, possibilities and reactions. Sadly, it did not. The ending seemed to set up a second book. Thankfully it didn't happen. Use your credit elsewhere.
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