Author: Stephen Ayers
Genre: Political thriller
Pages: Oversize paperback, 308
Opening Lines: "Peace in the Middle East had always seemed impossible, a dream that could never approach reality."
"Two deadly adversaries, one horrific conspiracy against Middle East Peace.
"Disillusioned with the continued killing in the agency, Jordan Kline resigns to take up hotel management studies. Now the General Manager of the Sands Eilat hotel, Jordan enjoys life with his girlfriend Irit in the Red Sea resort town.
"An ex colleague is taken out on the Arava road, the long desert road leading from the Dead Sea to Eilat. On his way back from Tel Aviv, Jordan witnesses the dying man's last words. They are words that will push Jordan reluctantly back into the world he had turned his back on.
"Jordan unravels a deadly conspiracy that threatens to engulf the Middle East in war. He becomes the most hunted man in Israel. Forced to use all his cunning, Jordan must stay one step ahead of men that kill to fulfill their deadly ambitions. The only problem is that Jordan does not know who they are, and time is running out as the historic date of the Taba Convention approaches."
Thoughts: I need to preface this by saying that political thrillers are usually not my cup of tea. I admit, going with my hubby to see the newest Jason Bourne movie was fun, but I've never felt the overwhelming desire to actually read the Bourne books. Needless to say, I was rather surprised that I was willing to take on this book request. I say this because I am unsure how much my inexperience with political thrillers will cloud my review.
The Taba Convention follows Jordan Kline, a retired Mossad agent, in his new job as a hotelier. After stumbling on a brutal car accident involving an old fellow Mossad operative, he is drawn into a thick political plot. After some digging, he discovers that this plot is meant to stop the Taba Convention, which would set back the peace treaty in Israel/the Middle East. Feeling responsible, Jordan charges headlong into the action to try and stop the conspiracy.
Good basis for a plot, considering all the stuff that has been happening in the Middle East for a long time; however, I felt that the author didn't give Jordan enough incentive to actually throw himself into this conspiracy. A lot of the book, Jordan talks about this retirement from the Mossad and wanting to close that bloody chapter of his life. He is fully content and happy in his life as the Sands GM and with his girlfriend. So, for me, I could not see why Jordan would drop everything to take on this fiasco. I found myself constantly asking myself why he was doing what he was doing. In addition, I wondered by Alex and Shalom were so quick to join Jordan on his crusade. Aside from overriding boredom after leaving their previous jobs, I couldn't come up with a reason. However, I did wonder whether some of Shalom's reasons had to do with his age.
I felt the book started out pretty slow, and I found myself kind of lost and confused at the beginning. For me, it took nearly 100 pages for it to pick up. Usually, if a book takes that long to catch my attention, I'll put it down. However, I admit, I'm glad I read further. When the book finally picked up, it was a thrill ride! I was surprised at the depth of the plot! Okay, I knew full well that it was a big deal, but the big guns involved where a surprise to me.
Now, to address my biggest pet peeve of all: grammar! I found the grammar, as far as quotes lasting over multiple paragraphs and commas when addressing someone, to be a pain in this book. I don't profess to know how the grammar system works in Canada, but please have some consistency! Half the time, in a dialog over multiple paragraphs, each paragraph would have an ending and closing quotation. The other half the time, the ending quotation would be left off. It was really confusing! In addition, on the same page, it wasn't consistent whether the comma before the name of the person addressed would appear or not. It was ridiculous! I cannot blame the author for that, since it is purely an editing issue.
I also felt that the author spent too much time describing things that weren't integral to the plot. This added to the slower feel of the book. This, however, is easily a first-time-writer mistake. It is easily corrected with maturing as a writer.
Aside from those issues, after getting through the first 1/3 rd of the book, it was a lot more enjoyable. It wrapped up a bit too easily, but I still liked Jordan winning in the end! After reading the author's quest post, I am rather curios to see what happens in the next book with the Nazis, and how Jordan is able to convince Irit that getting back into this stuff is a good idea.
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
Current Pages: 20172
Guest Post by Stephen Ayers
I cannot emphasize enough the huge, exhilarating feeling of self-fulfillment that I felt when I finally received the proof copy of The Taba Convention. Eighteen years in the making and I had the physical copy in my hands!
I started writing to explore my ‘inner self’, as being a hotel manager I was always with my ‘outer self’, with guests, employees, suppliers, travel agents and others. Hectic days went by and I did not have the chance to see if I had the creativity, the talent and patience to write. I wrote the book purely for myself, for the fun and experience.
Mali, my wife suggested that I print out a few copies and give them to friends to read. Imagine my reaction when they all called to push me to publish, that they enjoyed it so much I should continue writing books about Jordan Kline. Without Mali’s support and patience, and the encouragement of all my friends, the books would not have seen the light of day.
And so the Jordan Kline series was born. It is a trilogy that follows Jordan Kline an ex-Mossad legend turned hotelier after becoming disillusioned with the continued violence. He is a very reluctant hero who has turned his back on violence, and yet is drawn back into action because he has to do the right thing, the honorable thing.
I created ‘Jordan the hotelier’ to give me the opportunity to weave day to day life in hotels into the stories as well as amusing anecdotes from my career as an international hotel manager.
The books also progress with the relationship that Jordan enjoys with Irit, his girlfriend. In Taba she is girlfriend, in The Righteous Within she is his new bride, and in The Kharta Conspiracy I introduce their daughter Noah. It was fun to witness their relationship as it progressed, and I am sure that Jordan pulled me along as I wrote about him.
The books are all action thrillers, but even though they follow Jordan and Irit, they are each very separate and unique plots.
In The Taba Convention Jordan learns of a plot to destroy a peace convention, and must stay one step ahead of the conspirators, though he doesn’t know who they are. He becomes the most hunted man in Israel. The book is so relevant today with the upheavals in the Arab world, and especially relevant in that one of the scenes that takes place in ‘Taba’ is actually at the Netafim border crossing near Eilat, the scene of the latest and deadly terror attack on Israel from the Egyptian Sinai.
I followed Taba with The Righteous Within, a completely different story that deals with a Nazi plot, born in the dying days of World War Two and set to put in motion the annihilation of Israel at the beginning of this century. It is a horrific plot concocted by German Generals long in their graves to exact revenge for the fall of the Third Reich.
As a four year old child in Israel many years ago, I had the privilege to meet and play with Gertruda Babilinska, an amazing Catholic lady, a Righteous among Gentiles that devoted her whole life to saving a Jewish boy from the Nazis, accompanying him to Israel after the war and bringing him up in the Jewish traditions. It is these memories that prompted me to create the deadly plot of The Righteous Within.
The third book, which I am writing now, deals with an offshoot of the Neturei Karta, an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect that, while living in an area called Mea Shearim (Thousand Gates), still does not recognize the state of Israel. They are virulently anti Zionist in thought, but respect the status quo and are non violent.
I created an offshoot called The Kharta Brotherhood who adopt violence in their quest to overthrow the government and the state. In the third book a lot of the action takes place in Canada and the U.S, and again Jordan and Irit must unravel the plot and save the day.
I could go on and on, but I do invite you all to explore my website www.stephenwayers.com where there are the stories behind my books, excerpts, synopsis, my bio, pictures from places in my books in the gallery, and more. Of course, I invite you to read The Taba Convention, and look forward to publishing The Righteous Within this October.
If readers not only enjoy my books, but also experience an insight into the challenges of life in Israel today and the incredibly interesting inner world of the hotel industry, then I have achieved my goal!
All the best, Stephen