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Adam LeBor is a British author, journalist, writing coach and editorial trainer. Born in London in 1961, LeBor has worked as a foreign correspondent since 1991. He covered the collapse of Communism and the Yugoslav wars for The Independent and The Times and has worked in more than thirty countries. He currently contributes to the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times, Monocle and numerous other publications. He works as an editorial trainer and writing coach at the Financial Times, Citywire, Monocle and several financial institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He teaches creative writing, focusing on the thriller genre, for the Arvon Foundation.
LeBor has written eight critically acclaimed non-fiction books, including Hitler's Secret Bankers, which exposed Swiss complicity with the Nazis and which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, a biography of Slobodan Milosevic, and City of Oranges, an account of Jewish and Arab families in Jaffa, which was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize. He has written six novels including District VIII and Kossuth Square, the first two volumes of a series featuring Balthazar Kovacs, a Gypsy detective in the Budapest police murder squad, and a trilogy of thrillers featuring Yael Azoulay, a former Mossad agent who works as the secret negotiator for the United Nations Secretary General. His books have been published in fourteen languages.
The Balthazar Kovacs Gypsy detective Budapest noir crime seriesEdit
LeBor is currently writing a series of novels featuring Balthazar Kovacs, a Gypsy detective in the Budapest murder squad. The first volume, District VIII, was published in 2017 by Head of Zeus. It unfolds over three days during the summer 2015 migrant crisis. A Syrian refugee who was camping out at Keleti station is murdered, then his body disappears. Kovacs is warned off the case by a former police colleague now working for the Gendarmerie, a new paramilitary police force. But he refuses to take heed and works off the books to track down the killer. Kovacs is soon drawn into a dangerous web of people-traffickers, high-level corruption and Islamic radicals using the refugee crisis to transit through Hungary - a dark web in which his brother Gaspar, the city's most powerful pimp, is deeply implicated.
The second volume, Kossuth Square, was published in April 2019 by Head of Zeus. It follows straight on from District VIII and the story unfolds over the following weekend. The sinister forces that Kovacs defeated in District VIII are back and are now planning to wreak a terrible revenge, not just on Kovacs, but all of downtown Budapest. Once again, Kovacs has to choose: between the rule of law and justice and his loyalty to his own family. The Daily Mail described Kossuth Square as 'an elegant, atmospheric tale that twists and surprises at every turn.'
The Balthazar Kovacs series has been optioned for television by Kindle Entertainment, a London-based television production company. LeBor is now working on the third volume, provisionally titled Margaret Bridge.
The Yael Azoulay international thriller seriesEdit
LeBor has written a trilogy of thrillers set in the United Nations featuring Yael Azoulay, a former Mossad agent. Yael works as the covert negotiator for the secretary-general, brokering the secret deals that keep the wheels of superpower diplomacy turning - and the global corporations in business. The series was inspired by the Biblical character of Yael, who killed the Canaanite general Sisera, and LeBor's time as a reporter covering the Yugoslav wars when he encountered U.N. officials and peacekeeping troops.
The Yael Azoulay series also draws on LeBor's non-fiction book Complicity with Evil: The United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide, which investigates the U.N.'s failure to stop the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. Complicity with Evil takes its title from a U.N. report examining the organisation's role during these crises. The book focuses on the role of U.N. officials. The Yael Azoulay series explores the ethical and political dilemmas faced by U.N. officials under conditions of extreme stress and pressure.
The first volume in the Yael Azoulay series, The Geneva Option, was published in summer 2013 by HarperCollins in the United States and by Telegram in Britain. The plot is based on a conspiracy by French, German and Israeli companies to take over global supplies of Coltan, a mineral essential for the production of computers and mobile telephones. Yael discovers that the corporations plan to use the United Nations as a front to foment a new genocide in Africa.
The Washington Stratagem, the second volume, was published by HarperCollins US in November 2014 and was published by Head of Zeus in Britain in spring 2015. The story unfolds in Washington D.C. and Istanbul. Yael is tasked by the secretary-general with negotiating with the man at the centre of the American military industrial complex. Instead she discovers a complex conspiracy that reaches from Washington D.C. to Tehran, one that aims to assassinate Renee Freshwater, the first female president of the USA.
The Istanbul Exchange, a free downloadable e-book novella, was published by HarperCollins US in spring 2013.
The third volume, The Reykjavik Assignment, was published by HarperCollins US and Head of Zeus in 2016. Yael is sent to Reykjavik to broker a secret meeting between President Freshwater and her Iranian counterpart, in an attempt to head off a new war in the Middle East. Both leaders want peace but they have powerful enemies in their own countries who are determined that conflict will keep them in power and riches. The series has been highly praised for the complexity of its characters, Yael most of all, and the grey ethical areas in which she is forced to operate.
The Budapest ProtocolEdit
LeBor's first novel, The Budapest Protocol, was first published in 2009 by Reportage Press iand republished by Beautiful Books in 2011. The book opens in the Budapest ghetto in the winter of 1944 as the Red Army advances, then jumps to the present day during the election campaign for the first President of Europe. The story features Alex Farkas, a foreign correspondent based in Budapest, who discovers that the European election campaign is the culmination of a secret conspiracy by the Nazis in the dying days of the war to regroup and take power decades later.
The book was partly inspired by a US military intelligence document, Intelligence Report EW-Pa 128, dated 27 November 1944, datelined London, which was declassified by the US National Archives in 1996. The document, known as the Red House Report, also featured in LeBor's non-fiction work, Hitler's Secret Bankers. The Red House Report is based on information supplied by an agent of French intelligence, who attended a meeting of Nazi officials and German industrialists at the Maison Rouge (Red House) hotel in Strasbourg on 10 August 1944. The report, a copy of which is included in The Budapest Protocol, outlines the industrialists' plans for the post-war resurrection of Germany. While some have questioned the document's authenticity, it includes the date of declassification, 6 May 1996, and the authorisation code: NND765055.
LeBor's first non-fiction book, A Heart Turned East, published in 1997, examined the lives of Muslim minorities in Europe and the United States.
Hitler's Secret Bankers, first published in 1997 and updated in 1999, exposed Swiss economic and political complicity with Nazi Germany and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.
Seduced By Hitler, published in 2000, co-authored with Roger Boyes, examined daily life under the Third Reich.
Milosevic: A Biography, published in 2002, recounted the life of the former Serbian President.
City of Oranges: Arabs and Jews in Jaffa, published in 2006, portrayed the lives of Arab and Jewish families in Jaffa, Israel and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize. The book was re-published in 2017 by Head of Zeus, with a lengthy new afterword that updates the story of the featured families and Jaffa.
Complicity with Evil: The United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide, published in 2006, investigated the failure of the United Nations to stop genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, especially focusing on the role of U.N. officials.
The Believers: How America fell for Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Investment Scam, published in 2009, examined the psychology of the Madoff fraud.
LeBor's most recent non-fiction book, Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World, published in 2013, is the first investigative history of the Bank for International Settlements.
- Wansell, Geoffrey (4 April 2019). "CRIME". Mail Online. Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
- Lebor, Adam (13 May 2013). "A modern thriller with biblical roots". Times of Israel. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
- LeBor, Adam (2013). The Geneva Option. Yael Azoulay Series. 1. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 9780062208552.
- LeBor, Adam (2014). The Washington Stratagem. Yael Azoulay Series. 2. Bourbon Street Books. ISBN 9780062330017.
- LeBor, Adam (2013). The Istanbul Exchange: A Yael Azoulay Short Story. Bourbon Street Books. ISBN 9780062301932.
- Tower of Basel (Hardcover ed.). New York City: PublicAffairs. 2013. ISBN 161039254X. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Adam LeBor". The Nation. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
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