The Bottom Line: A memorable conspiracy thriller about a conflicted assassin and the threat of digital currency to the global economy.
William Schiele’s Tears of the Assassin details the plight of David Diegert, a disadvantaged young man who tries to find salvation in the U.S. Army, only to find himself a pawn in a global financial conspiracy. The book’s opening chapters devote substantial time to developing Diegert’s character through a series of personal and professional struggles. The pace and intensity change dramatically, however, when we’re introduced to a wealthy Austrian sociopath named Klaus Panzer who has a diabolical plan to control the global economy.
Panzer’s 35-room, taxidermy-filled mansion on a lakefront in the Austrian Alps would be a fitting lair for a bond villain, and considering Panzer’s role in this audacious tale, the setting works perfectly here as well. When we first see Panzer, he has summoned Omnisphere CEO Abaya Patel, an Indian-born, Harvard-educated businesswoman. Patel is understandably stunned by Panzer’s plans to replace the U.S. dollar with his own digital currency, but her greed proves to be more powerful than her empathy for humanity.
In a world where Bitcoin and other digital currencies are bringing both opportunity and chaos in the real world, Schiele’s book feels both timely and plausible. The degree to which thriller fans embrace Diegert as a hero depends on their interest in intentional character flaws, which Schiele carefully sets up in the early going. In all, thriller fans will be pleased by the original and fascinating plot, lots of intense action and the incredibly high stakes of this well-written novel.