“The Delphi Chronicle” (Books 1-3) by Russell Blake is a great thriller that neatly balances action, suspense and intrigue with interesting characters that the reader quickly becomes invested in. Like Ludlum? You’ll love Blake.
I must admit, I’ve never been much of a “black helicopters” conspiracy fan; having served 20+ years in the U.S. military I always took a dim view of ideas centered around our government being able to successfully run a large-scale extra-legal operation — much less keep it secret for decades!
Having said that, I greatly enjoyed the premise of “The Delphi Chronicle,” which involves a manuscript detailing what I came to call the Mother Of All Conspiracies. This manuscript outlines how governments, terrorist groups, Big Business and organized crime have worked together over many years to enrich and empower a select few. Unlike many stories built around conspiracies, “The Delphi Chronicle” doesn’t labor over the hows and whys, but rather addresses the results of such a massive operation — and the widespread damage that revealing it could bring.
After a brief and interesting overview of the bloody results of this grand conspiracy, the main narrative kicks off when a New York literary agent receives the manuscript anonymously. Former SEAL and security consultant Michael Derrigan gets drawn in when the agent’s electronic copy of the manuscript mysteriously disappears. No spoilers, but trust me there are twists and turns aplenty. The shadowy forces behind the conspiracy will stop at nothing to keep it from the public eye and the bodycount rises as Derrigan goes underground while trying to understand what and who he’s dealing with. But this is no empty-calorie actioner. In fact, the evolution of Derrigan throughout the three books is one of the things I enjoyed most; the man you meet in Book 1 might not recognize the one at the end of Book 3.
Blake’s clear prose rings with authority whether describing an action sequence or a Central American airport. So much so that I almost — almost — heard the sound of black helicopters while reading “The Delphi Chronicle.” Almost. I wholeheartedly recommend this trilogy, and look forward to diving into more of Blake’s novels.