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Book Review: The Bullion Trail

May 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 177


The Bullion Trail

Nick van Zyl



554 pages

The Bullion Trailis a convergence of two dramatically different plots that take place in Italy, England and Africa. This adventurous tale by author Nick van Zyl begins with an ambitious bank heist managed by a marked Mafioso boss and ends with the proceeds of the theft being used for the utmost good. This story will take readers on an epic journey filled with suspense, action and unexpected plot twists.

Antonio Montalti is a Mafioso leader living in Milan, Italy with his young mistress, Lola. After testifying against a government official during a corruption trial, Antonio and his friend, Bernardo, become marked men. With their lives in imminent danger, Antonio devises a plot that will allow them to acquire enough money to hide from the Mafioso indefinitely. He plans a heist of millions of dollars in gold bullion that has been purchased by the Italian government. The elaborate plan involves several lesser ranked members of the Mafioso family and specific officials employed by the bank where the gold is housed.

After the robbery, Antonio faces the challenge of selling the bullion. This is where the true adventure begins. Antonio and his men focus on completing their assignments so that the bullion can be sold, but the author throws many obstacles their way, causing the reader to wonder if the sell will actually take place. Meanwhile in England, John Fitzherbert, the managing director of Phoenix Enterprises, becomes interested in the news about the bullion heist. As head of a British company that acquires financially troubled businesses, John has become aware of the discovery of oil in small African country called Pangania. The goal is to gain a foothold in the country so that Phoenix Enterprises can profit from future international business. John decides this can be accomplished by orchestrating a coup. Although Phoenix Enterprises uses many of its own resources and top personnel to plan the coup, John wants to finance the bulk of the expedition with funds from the sale of the stolen bullion.

This story is a major undertaking. At over 500 pages, the book demands an investment of time, which the author rewards by cleanly tying together all of the loose ends that surface as a result of the dueling plot lines. Even so, some areas of this tome are overwritten; particularly the detailed descriptions of minor characters that often slow the momentum of the story to a crawl. However, author's exploration of a variety of countries and his offering of a multicultural cast of characters adds enough texture and excitement to the novel to keep readers engaged. The interjection of a seemingly innocuous cruise on a small yacht throws the story into high gear and serves as the joining point of the two principal plots.

The Bullion Trailis a long, winding tale of two vastly different worlds that ends in poetic justice.

Melissa Brown Levine


Independent Professional Book Reviewers

Melissa Brown Levine is a writer, book reviewer and manuscript consultant. She is the author of "I Need to Make Promises: A Novella and Stories." Read an excerpt at

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