This is a fast read, short in content, fast moving and full of explicit sex. Mr. de Villiers who died 2013 is a prolific French author with hundreds of spy novels under his belt “The Madmen of Benghazi” is the first English novel available in Canada although his books have been around in French for a long time. It introduces Austrian nobleman and freelance CIA Malko Linge as the protagonist and he is the one who commands every move in this particular story.
Set in Egypt and Libya in the aftermath of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s death the story centers on the fight between Islamic groups and the CIA. Written in a low potboiler style, this thriller is a bouillabaisse of intrigue, current events, humour and old clichés. The plot is pulp-thin and is littered with unresolved episodes although it did lead to a poignant ending. The description of Cairo and Benghazi exceeds expectation and is what holds this story together. I liked Malko’s character, he is cold blooded and views people as pawns, an excellent choice for an operative but as for the rest of the cast they are only sketchily developed.
With all its flaws this thriller was good entertainment and a fair read that captured details of the espionage world and the gritty political affairs.