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Pittsford grad pens political thriller "The Golden Hour"

Updated: 08/27/2014 1:01 PM
Created: 08/27/2014 12:59 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

A new novel titled "The Golden Hour" is about to be released. It's written by Pittsford Mendon alum Todd Moss. The hero is an American who finds himself in the middle of a coup in Mali. Click here to see Berkeley Brean's Skype interview with the author today.

"The Golden Hour" will be released September 4.

Here is the description of the book from the publisher:

"Judd Ryker is an up-and-coming young professor with a data-driven theory on how to reverse a coup d'état called "the Golden Hour".  It's all very ivory tower until the unexpected overthrow of an important American ally in the African nation of Mali gives him the chance to try it out in the real world.  But he has only one hundred hours to undo the coup, rescue the kidnapped daughter of a U.S. Senator, and stave off an attack on the U.S. Embassy before America's enemies in Mali and Ryker's rivals in the Washington shark tank take things out of his hands.  Such is the premise of THE GOLDEN HOUR (Publication date: September 4, 2014), the first book in a new international thriller series by former top State Department official Todd Moss, set in the world of espionage, diplomacy, and special operations.

As Moss's tale begins, Ryker has just arrived at the beach in North Carolina for his first vacation in a year with his wife, Jessica, a water expert he met in Mali, and their two young sons.  Before dawn, his Blackberry buzzes with the news that a coup has taken place in Mali and that the whereabouts of its president are unknown.  On extended leave from Amherst College, Ryker has been made the director of the State Department's new Crisis Reaction Unit because of his Golden Hour theory.  Backed by his study of forty years of political crisis around the world, the theory holds that the U.S. can prevent wars and coups in the developing world by reacting quickly and using every means at its disposal-diplomatic, military, economic, and backchannel.

Ryker is instantly on his way to Washington and then to Bamako, Mali's capital, where nothing is clear and everything is obscured.  President Maiga, Mali's duly elected civilian leader, has been pushed aside on national security grounds by General Idrissa, who claims that Maiga is not doing enough to tame growing terrorism.  Maiga recently fired Idrissa, who is rumored to be using Mali's American-trained Special Forces unit for his own corrupt purposes.  A third contender for Mali's presidency, General Diallo, waits in the wings in London, proclaiming that he simply wants to restore stability to his nation.

But which one is telling the truth? Which one is the real friend of the United States?  Ryker is getting questionable information and advice from many quarters.  His job only gets tougher when an American Peace Corps volunteer named Katie McCall is kidnapped by alleged terrorists in Mali's increasingly lawless north, near the fabled city of Timbuktu.  No ordinary young idealist, Katie is the daughter of Senator Bryce McCall, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who understandably wants every stop pulled out to get her freed.  

Compelled to pursue the truth wherever it may lead and at the insistence of Papa Toure, an old Malian friend from his graduate student days, Ryker travels to Timbuktu.  But as he makes his way across the desert, the situation in Bamako only becomes more tense and confused.  Time is just about up for Ryker and his theory, with the White House, the Pentagon, and his rivals in the State Department rapidly running out of patience and options.  The breakneck pace only increases and the surprises mount, as THE GOLDEN HOUR races toward its ingenious and deeply satisfying conclusion.

Moss, the chief U.S. diplomat for West Africa in the George W. Bush Administration, offers informed and authoritative insight into this bewildering cauldron in the context of a gripping, all-too-plausible plot.  Moreover, Moss has drawn upon his real-life experience as an envoy sent by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deal with a coup in Mauritania.  And in an uncanny testament to his prescience, a coup actually occurred in Mali while he was writing THE GOLDEN HOUR.

About the Author:
Todd Moss is Chief Operating Officer and Senior Fellow at the Washington think tank the Center for Global Development, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. From 2007 to 2008, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs of the U.S. State Department, where he was responsible for diplomatic relations with sixteen West African countries.  In August 2008, he was dispatched by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Mauritania to meet with General Aziz just days after he overthrew President Abdullahi in a coup.  Previously, he worked at the World Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit, and taught at the London School of Economics.  Moss is the author of four nonfiction books on international economic affairs.  He lives in Maryland.





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