Noor M M itibaren Siau Tagulandang Biaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Endonezya
Another entertaining read in the Aurelio Zen series. Even though I read it pretty much right after finishing Vendetta, I still really enjoyed it and did not experience Zen burnout. The plot may sound a bit farfetched given the overexposure of Dan Brown's cheesy religious thrillers -- in Cabal, a suicide in St. Peter's Basilica may have been murder, and the murder may have been committed by a secret cabal within an ages-old religious order, but Dibdin makes it work, primarily because he was writing at least a decade before Mr. Brown, and also because he writes very cleverly (the text is liberally sprinkled with Latin phrases, for instance) and Zen is such a complex character. This was written way back in 1993, and it somewhat shows with the use of "new" technology. In Vendetta, the previous book, Zen was still able to use his old Olivetti typewriter (*drools*) to write up his report. In this one, he has to use a computer. And from the sounds of things, they're still running in the dark days before GUIs, with black screens and green text. But the Internet does appear to exist in some form, at least for government institutions and major corporations. It's fascinating to read a book set around this time and remember the days where if you wanted to know what happened on an American TV show, you'd have to know somebody in America who could tell you! As usual, Dibdin's writing is excellent, with plenty of clever asides, wry narration and laugh-out-loud dialogue. Here is an example. The context: Zen is phoning up his friend Gilberto for help with his investigation, but he pretends to be from the Ministry of Finance, investigating Gilberto for tax dodging. Eventually he says "it's just me", and then: Gilberto: "You bastard! You really had me going there!" Zen: "Oh come on, Gilberto! You don't expect me to believe that you're fiddling a quarter of your taxes, do you" Gilberto: "Of course not, but..." Zen: "It must be a hell of a lot more than that." Dibdin also plays with the Italian language to great effect (see the double entendres associated with the popular dish known as "calzoni") and even has his characters tell a couple of jokes. So if you like well-written wit with your mysteries, you'd do well to pick up a Zen book. It may also inspire you to make a trip to Italy... that Rome-to-Milan train sure sounded nice.
I really enjoyed this book because it had to do with the other four major books by Stephanie Meyer. This is the is the story of Bree Tanner, a new born vampire who is used in an army to attack the Cullen family. Her view on her life and on the other vampires fascinated me. I thought it was really interesting to know about the side of a vampire who was forced to rebel people she did not even know. Knowing what the "new borns" had to go through, such as leaving their lives and becoming blood-thirsty monsters, really altered my view on the "bad" vampires portrayed in "Eclipse".