Tibetan Cross: Mike Bond
Sacrifices are often made in order to save yourself, others and in this case an entire nation from harm. Just how far would you go to avenge the death of a friend and find another who was in harm’s way. Sam Cohen will learn more than just the meaning of the word survival, loyalty and trust as he travels through a raging river in Tibet, to Nepal and over dangerous terrain to find the answers to why so many died. Two American climbers hired to guide a supposed photography expedition. The climbers are Sam Cohen, his friends Paul and Alex. Dangerous terrain and an expedition where they unknowingly did not know that there was a dangerous weapon being carried. But, things spiral out of control when the group decides to increase by adding several traders who the Americans want to add to their group. But, this is where things turn dangerous as this group of traders is carrying weapons that they are smuggling. But somehow this is just the start of what would turn into a much larger operation dealing with a nuclear device that has been placed among the arsenal they are carrying. Friends die, some disappear and Sam Cohen is in a fight for his life the rest of the novel. Alex is dead, Paul goes his separate way and Cohen needs to let someone know about the guns. Heading for Katmandu and the US Embassy. But, Sam is easily fooled by many of the people he meets. Winds up in different villages, stays with families and does not realize that whatever he learned about the bomb is now the reason there are many following him. But, Cohen is out for revenge and when he learns the name and whereabouts of the people that killed his friend, he takes action even before learning the source of the weapons. Running guns into Tibet, accused of killing an American government employee, Roger Elliot, another named Clem Stihl while he tried to apprehend him on the Kali Gandaki. But, his partners were killed. Alex and Vlasic were killed and another Nepali named Goteen. Sole, the supposed sole survivor is being hunted across Nepal, India, North Africa, Middle East and even the U.S. Author Mike Bond relates this story as he has spent time living in the Himalayas, speaks fluent Napali and relates a story based on his real life experiences and “highlights the tragic fate of the Tibetan people and their magnificent culture under the boot heels of the Chinese army.” This is a powerful story1
The amount of violence is quite large and many along the way befriend the descriptions quite graphic as Cohen. Meeting Maria would leave an impact on his life and losing her to violence even more. A man named Mort would prove to be a powerful adversary as Cohen see-saws back and forth between being captured, tortured, prodded, having drugs injected and often seems to be dreaming many incidents and you begin to wonder just what is real and what he imagines. But, befriended on a plane to Paris by someone going by the named Claire, he thinks he might have an ally but does he. Lies, deceits, deceptions, government agencies that would sell him down the river and more, Sam Cohen will have to fight for his life but will he survive?
Friendships run hot and cold and alliances are often frayed as we get to know more about Claire, her relationship to the agency, just whether she can be trusted and how Sam Cohen fits in. Accused of killing so many including a good friend named Kim, four Nepalis and supposedly others, Cohen finds himself in a possible no win situation. Just how high up is this conspiracy and just why would they want to bomb China?
Scenes that are so graphic this book is not for the faint of heart of the squeamish. Episodes that required that I turn my head at times and dialogue that mirrors the culture and the people that he meets. Imagine having electrodes all over your body and someone makes sure you feel the jolts. Imagine having your bones broken knee sliced, your cut badly cut and having to swim or paddle in a kayak to safe your life. How many people will you have to kill or maim before all is said and done? Could you swim with broken bones or a dislocated shoulder? What was going through Sam’s mind each time he was captured, tortured and learned the truth about those he thought he could trust? What really happened to Paul and Alex? Just how many women would take him in, care for him and use him for their own purpose?
Characters that are complex and a protagonist that is persistent, dangerous, unyielding, unforgiving and determined to find the source behind the bomb, who is after him and why and the hope that he can survive? From Tibet, Greece, Spain, France, Germany and the US for starters and many other places Tibetan Cross keeps readers wondering just where Sam will have to go next and just what obstacles he will face getting there. Alex sees a bomb hidden among a pack of animals and then things spiral out of control. Paul and Cohen are the only survivors and the end result just might change it all.
Cut, bruised, broken legs, almost at death’s door, the end seems quite near and someone that he thought he could not trust just might save them both but how? Medical attention and needs were often scarce and it seemed like Cohen had more than nine lives given to cats. Weapons, bombs, government cover-ups and killings making the story move at a fast pace.
Finding dangerous assault rifles, learning it is a nuclear bomb trigger, falling into the river and going on the run. What is Cohen’s final fate? Why are they transporting arms and why would the climbers want them to come along? Shootings outside of the embassy and more killings and an ending that was so violent, graphic and definitely filled with unexpected twists, turns and surprises that you wonder just where Sam Cohen winds up and what might be next for him.
Who is Claire and what was her link to the CIA? Just what was her motive and why did everyone close to Cohen wind up dead? The author describes the scenery so graphically and vividly you can feel the heat, the smell of decay, the stench, the wounds, the filth and the devastation of so many that were caught in this web of hate, lies and deceit. Tibetan Cross: as is sates in the press release is the story of one such weapons shipment that went awry, a nuclear weapon whose existence was denied and its potential target never identified. Could this really happen? Has it ever happened? Read Tibetan Cross, process the events and the story and you decide for yourself!
Fran Lewis: My review