Foreword Reviews

Lucifer’s Gold

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Lucifer’s Gold is a smart, complex international spy thriller.

Taut and spare, Robert W. Barker’s Lucifer’s Gold is an international espionage thrill ride.

Peter Binder, a geologist whose background includes time as a SEAL and many searches for gold, works with a former Russian spy, Maria Davidoff, who’s also his lover. Charged by the US president with examining and securing the biggest gold mine in history, located in Indonesia, Binder and Davidoff are pursued by greedy international conspirators bent on killing them and stealing the fortune. They escape repeated attempts on their lives; even the elite Secret Service cannot keep them safe from their determined enemies. Relying on their wits, they perform their mission, but a trail of bodies is left in their wake.

The story flips between the American officials involved in planning the mission, who’re stationed in the US, and Binder and Davidoff’s struggles in the field, maintaining balance through these dual focuses. Nonstop action leads to tense atmosphere whose immediacy is maintained, in part, through the bright, snappy dialogue that dominates the text. It is light on introspection and devoid of diversions. Descriptive details come in short bursts. Global travel and a sense of unrelenting menace add to the breathless pace.

Binder and Davidoff’s romantic subplot is founded on instability and speculation about Davidoff’s true motives. Her background concerns American officials who, having everything to lose should she prove unreliable, question Binder on her intentions. Binder proves more confident when it comes to his partner, adding to the sense of his charm, professionalism, and collectedness under pressure, but the underlying suggestion that Davidoff may be a double agent holds interest. As spies, the couple were equals, and both still exhibit canny instincts and familiarity with weapons and self-defense methods. Their experiences and competency balance out their dynamic, and enough is exposed about both characters’ backstories to make this series title function well as a standalone work.

Authentic details about espionage and international settings lead to a sense of realism. The buildup of Indonesia’s settings emphasizes cultural differences with the spies’ countries of origin, necessitating diplomacy; it’s an additional hurdle for Binder and Davidoff as they attempt to maintain a low profile. The alternating plot threads come together in a realistic way, maintaining suspense through to the conclusion.

Lucifer’s Gold is a smart, complex international spy thriller.

Reviewed by Lisa Guidarini

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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