Ted Bell. Warlord. New York: William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2010. 532 pages. ISBN 9780061859298.
In addition to the children's books that Ted Bell writes (see Nick of Time, which I reviewed on April 20), he also writes adult thrillers starring spy Alexander Hawke. This is not the first Hawke novel, and it begins as Hawke is slowly sinking into an alcoholic depression after losing his lover to murder the previous year. However, a call from Prince Charles brings him out of depression, and he gets himself back on track so that he can solve a decades-old mystery about who murdered Prince Charles' uncle, Lord Mountbatten, as well as who is threatening the royal family today.
Hawke brings in old friends and colleagues, some from the U.S., to try to solve this case. It appears that there is a tie to terrorism, both the "New IRA" and Al Qaeda, and a lot is at stake as they try to track down who might be responsible for past and present violence. The plotting is fast-paced, and the characters are interesting and well-developed. The only thing that I found a bit disquieting about this book was the use of real people as the targets and characters in the book, including Princess Diana, Princes Harry and William, and Queen Elizabeth. I don't know why I found that so disturbing, but I did; I could only think about what they would think about a book in which they are portrayed being shot or worse, just for some reader's entertainment. But that's a minor quibble; I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary thrillers.