The Geneva Option

Yael Azoulay does the United Nations’ dirty work by cutting deals that most of us never hear about. Equally at home in the caves of Afghanistan, the slums of Gaza, or corporate boardrooms all across the world, Yael believes the ends justify the means…until she’s pushed way beyond her breaking point.

When Yael is assigned to eastern Congo to negotiate with Jean-Pierre Hakizimani, a Hutu warlord wanted for genocide, she offers him a generous plea bargain. Thanks to Congo’s abundance of a valuable mineral used in computer and cell phone production, her number one priority is maintaining regional stability. But when she discovers that Hakizimani was behind the death the person she loved most in the world —and that the UN is prepared to sanction mass murder—Yael soon discovers that salvation means not just saving other’s lives but confronting her own inner demons.

Spanning New York City, Africa, and Switzerland, The Geneva Option is the first in a series of gripping and intelligent conspiracy thrillers.

The world's most exclusive club meets every other month at 7pm on Sunday evening in a circular tower block whose tinted windows overlook Basel railway station. Its members include some of the most powerful men in the world. They are central bankers, who have come to Switzerland to attend the Economic Consultative Committee of the Bank for International Settlements, the bank for central banks.

Set up in 1930 by an international treaty, the BIS and its assets are legally inviolable. The Swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over the bank or its premises. The BIS has just 140 customers but made tax-free profits of $1.17 billion in 2011-12.

Under Thomas McKittrick, the bank's American president, the BIS continued operating throughout the Second World War. The BIS accepted looted Nazi gold, conducted foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank and was used by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a secret contact point to keep the channels of international finance open.

After 1945 the BIS—behind the scenes—for decades provided the necessary technical and administrative support for the trans-European currency project, from the first attempts to harmonize exchange rates in the late 1940s to the launch of the Euro in 2002.

The bank is now at the centre of efforts to build a new global financial and regulatory architecture. Yet despite its central role in the history of the last century and during the current crisis, the BIS remains largely unknown - until now.

Tower of Basel is the first unauthorised investigative history of the world's most influential global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision makers including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England and former senior BIS managers and officials, Tower of Basel tells the story of the secretive institution at the heart of the global banking network: the central bankers' own bank.

  • Adam LeBor has written an absolutely fascinating history of the BIS, perhaps the most enigmatic financial institution in the world. The story he unveils of the many skeletons in its closet and its astounding ability to remake itself periodically only add to its mystique.
    Liaquat Ahamed, author of "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World"
  • Compelling reading--a masterly depiction of the role of the BIS in the Nazi period and Second World War.
    Harold James, professor of history and international affairs, Princeton University, and author of "Making the European Monetary Union"
  • "Tower of Basel" is essential reading. Meticulously researched and fluently written, it reveals a slice of the modern world's untold history--a gripping tale of covert networks, secret deals and unaccountable, powerful individuals whose decisions shape our lives.
    Edward Lucas, author of "Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today"

What if the Nazis had won the Second World War — but we didn’t know it?

Inspired by declassified US Intelligence reports. A sinister conspiracy thriller based on 1944 US intelligence documents which reveal how Nazi leaders planned a Fourth Reich - not a military empire, but an economic one.

Nazi-occupied Budapest, winter 1944. The Russians are smashing through the German lines. Miklos Farkas breaks out of the Jewish ghetto to find food - at the Nazis’ headquarters. There he is handed a stolen copy of The Budapest Protocol, detailing the Nazis post-war plans. Miklos knows it must stay hidden for ever if he is to stay alive. The book jumps to present day Budapest. As the European Union launches the election campaign for the first President of Europe, Miklos Farkas is brutally murdered. His journalist grandson Alex buries his grief to track down the killers. He soon unravels a chilling conspiracy rooted in the dying days of the Third Reich, one that will ensure Nazi economic domination of Europe - and a plan for a new Gypsy Holocaust.

The hunt is on for The Budapest Protocol. Alex is soon drawn deeper into a deadly web of intrigue and power play, a game played for the highest stakes: the very future of Europe. But Alex too is haunted. He must battle his own demons as he uncovers a shadowy alliance that the world thought had been defeated for good. Powerful, controversial and thought-provoking, The Budapest Protocol is a journey into Europe's hidden heart of darkness.

Watch the trailer for the Budapest Protocol:

  • If this novel was a handbag it would be a black Chanel - beautifully made, perfect for every occasion and just a little old-fashioned (in a good way)...LeBor is a distinguished writer of nonfiction and his first novel shows that he's just as good at making it up
    Kate Saunders, The Times
  • Adam LeBor, a foreign correspondent, has cheerfully hijacked the eternal blueprint for countless thrillers from the sublime Robert Harris to the ridiculous Dan Brown. But he has deployed the format with delicacy, reverence, expertise and (the acid test for even the darkest plots) charm.
    Jeremy Jehu, Daily Telegraph
  • A page-turning thriller with a meaty conspiracy theory that is rooted in historical fact and bristling with warnings against complacency. Would that all debut novels were so ambitious, timely and relevant.
    Declan Burke, Irish Times
  • A thoroughly enjoyable debut.
    Jenni Frazer, The Jewish Chronicle
  • LeBor creates an alternative Budapest, using today's city - including its former Jewish quarter - as a backdrop for an imaginary political scene in which Nazi-inspired political forces gain power in a bid to take over Europe.
    Ruth Gruber, JTA
  • An absorbing read, packed with vivid portraits. LeBor adroitly paints reality-in-fiction. The novel travels through Budapest’s charming, yet sad, Jewish quarter, rundown Roma shanties in Slovak villages, districts of gray blocks of flats, bohemian cafes, and sordid bars...an achievement.
    Marius Dragomir, Transitions Online
  • Chillingly real...A first rate thriller comparable to Robert Harris's "Fatherland"
    Matt Beynon Rees
  • A first-class piece of hokum...Like all good thrillers it manages to tick all the boxes of its genre: the drifting hero who by uncovering the secret gives his own life meaning and focus, the beautiful girl with the tragic past, a disabled super-villain, and so on.
    David Bowden, Spiked-online

“A fascinating, poignant, subtle portrait of the United States itself.” — Simon Sebag-Montefiore.

It was in luxurious Palm Beach, by the manicured lawns and Olympic-sized swimming pools, that financier Bernard Madoff ravaged the world of philanthropy and high society he had strived so hard to join, vaporising the assets of charities, foundations and individuals that had trusted him with their funds. It seems nothing was sacrosanct to Madoff, possibly the greatest con-man in history. Even Elie Wiesel's foundation has lost tens of millions. How could Madoff, a pillar of the Jewish community, do this to a Nobel Laureate and Auschwitz survivor? But Wiesel was hardly alone in trusting the rogue financier. How could some of the most sophisticated and worldly people in America fall victim to a collective delusion for year after year?

The Believers answers these unsettling questions. It opens up the clubbish world where Madoff operated, tracing the links from Palm Beach and The Hamptons to the salons and clubs of Manhattan society. It details the network of relationships across which flows hundreds of millions of dollars. 'The Believers' shows how despite material success and acclaim, some human impulses remain eternal. It reveals how an underlying sense of insecurity still shapes some of the richest and most successful individuals in America, making them crave ever more status and peer acclaim. By focusing on Madoff's connection to, and catastrophic impact on, the American Jewish community, The Believers dramatically humanises a story that is part financial scandal and part Greek tragedy.

  • My interview with Sarah Peters on the Guardian's Sounds Jewish podcast (scroll to 03.54).
  • A fascinating, poignant, subtle portrait of the United States itself.
    Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Sunday Telegraph books of the year
  • In these turbulent times we want a morality tale, dressed up with glamour and glitz, about how Madoff seduced and shafted the rich, sophisticated and stupid. LeBor stumps up these rewards in a lively story that will satisfy even the economically illiterate.
    Iain Finlayson, The Times
  • Adam LeBor's excellent book, written with perfect restraint, explores how it came to pass that a staggering $65 billion imploded in December 2008 when Madoff admitted that his investment business was "one big lie?"...It neatly chronicles the many shades of complicity. It is stuffed with finely detailed tales of hubris and hypocrisy.
    Laura Slattery, Irish Times
  • This book brilliantly answers the "How" question about Bernie Madoff and his giant Ponzi scheme...Bernie played the Jewish card at every opportunity and the Jews fell for it.'
    Bryan Appleyard, New Statesman
  • An analysis of how Bernard Madoff developed a sophisticated network of contacts across Jewish charities, universities, synagogues and country clubs and stole their money.
    The Economist
  • A distinctive analysis of Madoff's motivation in the context of his position in the American Jewish community...LeBor has a nice final image of Madoff working in the engraving shop of Butner federal prison in North Carolina, where he is likely to spend the rest of his life.
    Martin Vander Weyer, The Spectator
  • A spendid analysis of...the worst swindler in history.
    City Spy, London Evening Standard
  • A clear and concise account of Madoff's scam...A master of the art of "affinity fraud", LeBor reminds us, Madoff targeted his fellow Jews.
    Glenn Altschuler, Jerusalem Post
  • Adam LeBor's absorbing, chilling book...fills us in on some of the details we otherwise only imagine about Madoff's affinity scam.
    Bernard Avishai, Talking Points Memo
  • LeBor calls Madoff a modern "shtarker", or gangster, who used technology, charm and brilliant social connections to rule, and, ultimately, destroy. His motivation was deep and determined - the result speaks for itself.
    Zoe Strimpel, City A.M
  • A great book and very easy to read. It is a manual for confidence tricksters and you just know it could all easily happen again...I can't recommend it highly enough.
    Peter Wade, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer
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Parent Directory tower_of_basel/ the_geneva_option/ the_budapest_protocol/ the_believers/ surviving_hitler/ milosevic/ hitler's_secret_bankers/ complicity_with_evil/ city_of_oranges/ a_heart_turned_east/ order.txt.orig order.txt.old order.txt