Omnibus (Ratking/Vendetta/Cabal)

Thursday 11 November 2010

While there are references the earlier stages of his career and the Moro kidnapping, the events that unfold in Ratking trigger a renaissance in Zen’s career prospects which leads neatly into the events that provide the basic plot line for the next volumes, Vendetta and Cabal.

It’s fairly obvious that Zen’s recall to active service in Ratking has only happened because the various higher authorities need to be seen to be doing something about the kidnapping of powerful industrialist Ruggiero Miletti without wanting the investigation to be too successful. 

The local authorities resent having an outsider thrown into the case, Miletti’s children are operating on their own agenda and there are the predictable conflicts between the interests of the various layers of the Italian legal system.

As Zen digs through the detail it becomes increasingly obvious things are not quite what they seem. While it’s highly likely that the kidnapping is the work of professionals, the reader can’t help wondering whether the abduction took place at the behest of Miletti’s children but, if that is the case, which one? 

In the end Zen unravels the threads that tie the plot line together and his success pleases a well-placed politician enough to see Zen restored to the active roster, and that change in status provides the lead-in to Vendetta, where a billionaire builder is killed in a heavily fortified Sardinian estate. Although there is constant video surveillance of the premises, and the cameras have recorded the death of Burolo, his wife and house guests, the cameras fail to reveal the identity of the killer or the means employed to gain access to the house.

There are a number of suspects, each with quite plausible motives and as Zen travels to Sardinia to investigate the case strange things which may or may not relate to other matters are happening around his flat in Rome.

While the reader is aware that Zen has arrived at the true solution in Ratking and Vendetta, as far as his superiors are concerned his conclusions demonstrate an ability to conjure up something that ties in with their own agendas, a fact that may have influenced the decision to bring him in to investigate an apparent suicide in the Vatican.

The events in Cabal appear to involve a faction within the centuries-old Knights of Malta but as Zen moves through events he has other things on his mind as well. The strange things happening around his flat in Vendetta could well be related to his involvement with Tania Biacis, who works in the same Ministry and in Cabal we learn that apart from her official duties Tania has her own operation bubbling away on the sidelines.

And since their arrangement is placing considerable strain on Zen’s purse strings it’s hardly surprising that after Prince Ludovico Ruspanti's fatal fall Zen is increasingly tempted by the possibility that documents relating to the case might have a significant cash value. As he sets about attempting to cash in things don’t quite work out as planned, largely because he’s not the only player trying to reap financial benefit from the situation.

So while the pieces fall neatly into place and Zen unravels the threads that make up the mystery he fails to secure the windfall that he was looking for. 

© Ian Hughes 2012