In a Kabul ravaged by violence and corruption, Murder Squad boss Osama Kandar still believes in integrity, a code of honour, and loyalty to old friends. But the apparent suicide of a businessman called Wali Wadi changes everything.
As Kandar’s routine investigation starts to suggest murder, the Minister for Security attempts to foil his every move, motivating him even more to solve the alleged crime.
Meanwhile, a Swiss-based secret organisation known as The Entity is doing everything in its power to terminate Kandar’s investigation, even if it means putting an end to his life and those of innocent civilians. Wali Wadi’s murderer must not be found, whatever the cost.
At the same time, Entity analyst Nick Snee is looking for a man named Leonard Mandrake, who has information that The Entity is desperate for. When Snee discovers that Mandrake’s information is related to Wali Wadi’s death, he joins forces with Kandar to find out what everybody is after, and why so many lives are being destroyed in the wake of the Mandrake Affair.
What they discover is far more important than either could have possibly imagined.
'In The Mandrake File, Bannel has created one of the most fascinating, complex detectives of contemporary crime fiction: [In] Osama Kandar ... he has created an unforgettable expression of the resilience of the Afghan spirit. Here's hoping that this is the first in a Kandar series.'
Caroline Baum, Booktopia
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'Bannel's novel has a cinematic quality ... [it] succeeds in both engrossing the reader and telling the story of a country in crisis while recognising the ultimate cost-bearers beneath the scandal: the Afghan people.'
Natasha Molt, Canberra Times
'[The plot] flows seamlessly in Cedric Bannel's hands simply because this French diplomat-turned-writer possesses such a subtle touch. From the grim back streets of a Zurich few outsiders see, to Kabul's bloody, dusty lanes to international bastardry, Bannel has tapped a story as believable as tomorrow's headlines. Verdict: International intrigue at its best.'
Graham Clark, Courier Mail
'Like the work of Le Carre The Mandrake File's plot arcs are truly an imaginative tour de force and testament to their author's growing reputation as a creative powerhouse ... Bannel is intelligent, elegant and utterly contemporary and his action sequences will have audiences on the edge of their seats right up to the final pages of the book.'
Anna Forward, Sunday Tasmanian
'The Mandrake File is the first of this French author's thrillers to be translated into English, and Polly McLean's winning translation does it proud. Expect grim antiheroes, plenty of action and suspense, and an amoral wasteland stewed in corruption and blood.' PICK OF THE WEEK
Cameron Woodhead, The Saturday Age