The Cuban Gambit
With The Cuban Gambit, Jay Perin moves his One Hundred Years of War series, a sprawling saga centered on family rivalry, political corruption, and dodgy dealings within the oil industry, on to the mid-1980s and the closing months of President Temple’s second term in office. While Temple may have seemingly bested his archrival Jared Sanders toward the end of The Manhattan Swindle, he has certainly not shied away from conspiracies and illegal activities throughout his presidency. In fact, this time round his political machinations start with a covert operation allegedly intended to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi and only get murkier from there on out.
Harry Sheppard, as one of the few people to see through Temple’s crosses and double-crosses, knows that his former mentor is plotting something big, something that will likely spell significant trouble for himself and former love Lilah Kingsley, although his work as a Navy SEAL and an undercover CIA operative means that he has little chance of toppling the president. Unfortunately for Harry, he hasn’t been very good at hiding his suspicions, and it now seems that someone has decided it is well past time for him to have a little “accident.”
Meanwhile, Lilah is struggling to maintain control over an oil empire that she never wanted. Yet, however difficult things might get, she is not willing to cede control of the global oil industry to President Temple and his cronies. She’s already managed to do the seemingly impossible––to unite the warring Sheppard, Kingsley, and Barrons families behind a common cause––but can she and Harry manage to survive the latest threats against them? For his part, President Temple isn’t going to let his personal feelings concerning Lilah get in the way of his ongoing mission to consolidate his power over both the country and the wider world.
The Cuban Gambit is another elaborate and action-packed installment in the One Hundred Years of War series. Although it’s feasible to read it as a standalone novel by paying close attention and making maximum use of the family trees that Perin includes at the beginning of the book, there is so much detailed backstory to the series that it’s really best to read the previous two novels first. Without that grounding, it would be easy to become lost among all the conspiracies and deceptions and so to not get the most out of what is really an extraordinary achievement on the part of Perin. Not many authors would be able to coherently pull off such a complex story arc over the course of several books.
As Perin focuses on the more Machiavellian side of his characters, it’s never been easy to determine who the heroes of the story are. For instance, while Temple seemed like the good guy when compared with Sanders, he’s still a conniving and single-minded strategist with a decidedly sociopathic outlook. Even Harry and Lilah, who seem to stand in opposition to Temple’s goal of world domination, are far from straightforward. They’re both willing to do whatever it takes to achieve what they think is necessary, and they both have blood on their hands. Luckily, all the uncertainly adds to the sense of suspense and intrigue that permeates the story.
Perin’s One Hundred Years of War series is projected to run to seven volumes, so it should come as no surprise that while many strands of the plot appear to be tied up by the end of The Cuban Gambit, there are a number of unresolved issues and potential new directions that will likely be explored in forthcoming books. Indeed, given how things end in this book, it’ll be interesting to see what twists and turns Perin has in store for both characters and readers in The Beijing Blunder.
|Page Count||562 pages|
|Publisher||East River Books|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|