Chasing Black Gold
ROBERT STONE was a serial entrepreneur – an enterprising individual, mostly on the wrong side of the law, who spent twenty-five years operating all over the world, before being arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Over the course of his career, Stone earned and lost several lifetimes’ worth of fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, saw men die, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, trading fuel with generals, rebels and businessman, was both his career high and, ultimately, what brought him down.
Chasing Black Gold by Robert Stone, I’m not going to lie, only vaguely interested me. I was more interested in the fact that it was a rare opportunity to get a paperback copy. However…I’m so glad I snagged it. This book is a strange mix of matter-of-fact storytelling and enthralling underworld escapades. The voice doesn’t detract from the story at all, though. In fact, I think, if it were told any other way, it’d be less believable. Stone’s voice is at times reflective and at other times, it seems like he could be telling about his trip to the grocery store. As a reader, though, the store is 3000 miles away through a storm that threatens to sink the ship and there are armed men blocking your way to the door. The CONTENT is exciting enough that Stone can give us a history lesson and we just keep reading.
Stone, as the main ‘character’ isn’t inherently likeable. In fact, I kind of dislike him…and did through the whole story. But what makes me tolerable is the fact that he owns up to his failings. He doesn’t blame others. He doesn’t have a woe-is-me story. You can understand his desire, but he wholly admits that greed is his motivator. This means I don’t hate him, like I would if he had tried to shuffle the blame for his life choices. Ultimately, this also helps with making the rest of the story believable…because it really does read like a cinematic action flick (complete with burning boats, arrests, bribing authorities, and a guy named Muscles). I definitely recommend this if you have ever wondered how modern pirates (and I’m not talking cyber ones) get things done. There’s no hook and no peg leg, but there is definitely high seas and evading authorities–and maybe even some buried treasure.
Grab your copy below (or go to the bottom and enter to win a signed copy!)
Author Robert Stone first came to Aberdeen Scotland in 1973 as a pioneer saturation diver in the early dangerous days of the North Sea. Retiring from diving in the mid 80’s he became a serial entrepreneur –mostly on the wrong side of the law. He spent the next decade operating businesses all over the world from his Aberdeenshire home.
Stone earned and lost several fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, was only one of his many exploits.
His Scottish wife and young children knew nothing of the dark side of his life
until the day they were all arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
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