The Gemini Contenders is one of the old Robert Ludlum classic Cloak & Daggar all nighters! This book is almost 30 years old and could give The DaVinci Code a run for its money if you read them next to each other.
This story takes place over 40 years, involves twin brothers with different agendas, a secret vault and a brotherhood of priests. A midnight ride through Nazi southern Europe into the mountains of northern Italy with a cargo so religiously devastating, it has been hidden for centuries. And the cost if this vault and its' contents are revealed will be worse than anyone can imagine.
Vittorio Fontini-Cristi is the eldest son of a wealthy Italian industrialist. His father's masterminding of the hiding of the vault leads to Vittorio's becoming enmeshed in events he doesn't fully understand. Vittorio is hunted by many who want the vault's contents. But he is also protected by some who believe he will lead them to it and its' secrets.
He never escapes this proverbial albatross around his neck and before he dies, must pass it on to his twin sons: the Geminis who have both become involved in wars of their own. One son is career army with a Vietnam background, the other a peace loving war protester. They must cast aside their mutual dislike of each other and find the answers to the secret that has haunted their family for years.
They are caught up in the search by an international collection of good and bad guys (and in true Ludlum fashion, who can tell the difference until the very end) is global, the cast of characters ranges from determined US military with no patience for the religious ramifications to the twins, Andrew and Adrian. Their relationship is so complex, love and hate, trust and deception - even after all these years or dragging this book around and reading and re-reading it, I am still quite taken by Ludlum's mastery of this familial interaction.
And don't overlook the priests! These fellow have alot to loose, or gain, depending on their perspective, who you listen to, who sees the "parchment", who knows the truth.
All in all, this is one of Ludlum's best and it is strongly recommended to anyone who has read any of Dan Brown's books, or Tom Clancy, or any of the more 'modern' spymasters! There is still alot to learn from Ludlum, even if he is dead!
Title: The Gemini Contenders
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful: How did I miss this?, November 4, 2002 Reviewer: Lori Erickson (Alice Springs, Australia) - See all my reviews I thought I had read everything Ludlum had ever written, but came across this in a backpacker hostel. What a find! This book made me remember what it was I loved about Ludlum's writing, and reminded me that his older writings are better than all this stuff they're finding now that he's gone. The book leads you through twists and turns, and the plot is classic Ludlum. He doesn't keep the story moving with useless dialogue and the characters are believable. The power contained within the hidden vault motivates many to devote their lives to it's discovery. You've got to wonder what it could possibly contain to drive people this way.