The Jackal's Share
By Christopher Morgan Jones
(Penguin Press HC, The, Hardcover, 9781594205354, 336pp.)
Publication Date: February 21, 2013
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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"Terrific news for fans of first-class thrillers." --Maureen Corrigan, NPR.org
A murder in a Tehran hotel leaves the London art world spinning. The deceased, beloved at home as a proud dealer in antiquities, now stands accused of smuggling artifacts out of Iran for sale in the West. But despite the triumphal announcements of the secret police, there is something perhaps too tidy in the official reportgiven that no artifacts have been recovered, no smuggling history discovered, no suspects found.
Half a world away, Darius Qazai delivers a stiring eulogy for his departed friend. A fabulously successful financier, Qazai has directed his life and wealth toward philanthropy, art preservation, and peaceful protest against the regime of his native Iran. His fortune, colossal; his character, immaculate. Pleasantly ensconced in the world of the London expatriate elite, Qazai is the last person anyone would suspect of foul play. Yet something ominous is disrupting Qazai’s recent business deals, some rumor from his past so frightening to his American partners that they will no longer speak to him.
So Qazai hires a respectable corporate intelligence firm to investigate himself and clear his reputation. A veteran of intelligence work in the former Soviet Union, Ben Webster soon discovers that Qazai’s pristine past is actually a dense net of interlocking half-truths and unanswered questions: Is he a respectable citizen or an art smuggler? Is his fortune built on merit or on arms dealing? Is he, after all, his own man? As he closes in on the truth of Qazai’s fortuneand those who would wish to destroy itWebster discovers he may pay for that knowledge with the lives of his own family.
A vivid and relentless tale of murderous corporate espionage, The Jackal’s Share follows the money through the rotten alleys of Marrakech and the shining spires of Dubai, from the idyllic palaces of Lake Como to the bank houses of London’s City. The Jackal’s Share plunges readers into a Middle East as strange and raw as ever depicted, where recent triumphs rest uneasily atop buried crimes and monumental greed.
For eleven years CHRIS MORGAN JONES worked at the world’s largest business intelligence agency. He has advised Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds, and African mining companies. He is the author of The Silent Oligarch.
"With a British appreciation for understatement, Jones elegantly executes the basic elements of the conventional thriller. Take one lone-wolf agent and set him on the trail of an enigmatic big shot with sketchy business associates. Throw in some swanky locales, a few well-placed corpses and brewing trouble in our hero's marriage. Wrap it all up with a couple of truly tense cliffhangers, and the result is what the great but apologetic thriller writer Graham Greene famously downplayed as ‘an entertainment.’...Terrific news for fans of first-class thrillers."
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR
“The novel is as much Raymond Chandler as John le Carré; as much The Big Sleep as The Spy Who Came in From the Cold... Chris Morgan Jones has more than equaled his powerful debut and in Ben Webster has created a flawed (of course), likeable central character. I look forward to getting to know him better.”
—The Observer (UK)
"Comparisons with Le Carré have bedevilled Jones from the outset. But he does invite them, and never more so than in this elegant novel about the dark, amoral charisma of the super-rich... Murky, mesmerising stuff." --The Guardian (UK)
“Ambivalent as ever about the ethics of the superrich and his part in solving their problems, Webster proves to be the ethically troubled anti-Bond. A more-than-worthy sequel with deft, complex and believable plotting, tense, gut-wrenching action,
and classy literary writing.”
—Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"A surprising plot and deceptively simple prose distinguish Jones’s exceptional thriller, his second after his impressive debut, 2012’s The Silent Oligarch."
—Publisher's Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
***Praise for The Silent Oligarch***
"From Chris Morgan Jones, an absolutely terrific novel. It's about international intrigue--but the real deal. The Silent Oligarch is beautifully written, clean and terse, but you won't notice, because you'll be reading just as fast as you can. Very highly recommended, and you'll want more."
—Alan Furst, author of Spies of the Balkans and Night Soldiers
“This is a happy partner to the work of Deighton, Archer, and le Carré. Mysterious men, cryptic of speech and beautifully tailored, move through glittery settings—seacoasts, grand hotels, swank neighborhoods—carried on craftily understated prose that approaches cold poetry… Men are betrayed. Drugged. Kidnapped. Tossed off buildings. Downed by snipers. If the good guys win, it’s at such a cost they’re left wondering if they accomplished anything. They did. They were part of a first-class novel."
— Booklist (starred)
"Like the icy eastern winter that seeps through the pages of his novel, Jones's prose is clean and cold, crisp and ominous. In its intelligence, its crispness, its refusal to recognise anything other than shades of grey, there are undoubtedly resonances of Le Carré here. But [The Silent Oligarch] is too good to need the publishing shorthand for "classy thriller": this is a debut that definitely stands on its own merits."
— The Guardian (UK)
"Fans of thrillers, especially those set in present-day Russia, will welcome the supernova that has burst onto the spy and suspense scene . . With a mysterious, complex plot and terrific local color, this novel resonates to the pounding heartbeats of the boldly drawn main characters. John le Carré, Martin Cruz Smith, and Brent Ghelfi will be inching over in the book display so readers in search of erudite, elegant international intrigue can spot the newcomer."
— Library Journal