The Chancellor Manuscript
The Chancellor Manuscript: Robert Ludlum, May 30—June 5, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
With The Chancellor Manuscript
, author Ludlum writes a conspiracy about an author who writes a conspiracy who experiences the same conspiracy as he is. Yeah.
Based on the real-life founding director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, and his well-documented abuses of power, Manuscripts suggests Hoover was assassinated in order for a well-meaning group to gain access to his vast files which he used to blackmail judges, senators, reporters and anybody else that stood in his way. Except half of those files fell into the wrong, unknown, hands.
Enter Peter Chancellor, a conspiracy novelist who is given part of the information as a book concept, hoping that he’ll inadvertently draw out the perpetrators. In next to no time, his whole world is turned upside down.
The taut writing makes this a tense page-turner. Ludlum is indiscriminate with his bloodshed, and the unscrupulous characters are seldom who they say they are. With multiple agencies working towards their own ends, it’s a myriad of deception.
With such a complex web of storylines, many of them interconnected, Ludlum skilfully balances action with exposition as Chancellor tries to piece together the information that he has. His connection-making and conclusion-drawing makes the dense plot easy to follow, though any attempt to get ahead of the game will invariably wind up proving you wrong. There’s more twists than Alton Towers, even when half its rides aren’t shut for health and safety reasons.
The Chancellor Manuscript constitutes an interesting blurring of fact and fiction twice over, through both the book and book-in-a-book, which allows a twisty-turny page-turner to follow.