Todd's Guardians

Fiction - Thriller - Espionage
344 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2022
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Author Biography

C. Edgar North is a pen name. Your author has worked in over 30 countries and met some interesting characters. This story, although completely fiction, has its roots with a larger-than-life character I encountered while working in Thailand.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Todd's Guardians by C. Edgar North is a thriller espionage novel with an exciting plot to keep you entertained for hours. Todd Harris was a brilliant scientist who specialized in nuclear bomb design and electronic miniaturization. Lately, however, his life had been sad and lackluster. His fiancée left him, and he was diagnosed with cancer. Depressed and losing hope, Todd’s sister advised him to take a lectureship in Thailand for a change of scenery and to make his life less bleak. Contrary to what Todd thought, he loved Thailand and its natural beauty. With the CIA keeping him safe, Todd chased risks that he otherwise wouldn’t. However, he had no idea that Pakistan had its sights on him to enhance its nuclear weapon program. The CIA knew it and decided to use Todd as a pawn. The only thing: Todd had no idea. What would he do? Would he play into the hands of two countries, or would he carve out his own future?

I love thriller novels, especially those set in countries that I know. I was very happy when the author used appropriate colloquial terms and was honest about the Thai culture and trends. The story was fast-paced, filled with action and little anecdotes that made me laugh. The action was very much present in the narrative and made the story very interesting. The chapters were succinct but they worked in favor of the pacing of the story. Todd was very resilient, he understood he might not live a long life and he wanted to make the best of the time available. The descriptions were kept short yet direct. I did not have to comb through pages and pages of paragraphs to get the information I needed. Author C. Edgar did a good job of writing a complex story without making it so. Action-packed and entertaining!

K.C. Finn

Todd’s Guardians is a work of fiction in the thriller and adventure subgenres. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author C. Edgar North. Set in Thailand in the late 1970s, the book follows a scientist named Todd, whose life has been in a downward spiral since his cancer diagnosis. After moving to Thailand to get some fresh perspective, Todd becomes enamored with the country and starts taking part in dangerous thrill-seeking activities, much to the frustration of the CIA agents tasked with keeping him safe. But when Pakistani Intelligence sets in motion a plan to kidnap Todd as part of their nuclear development program, the CIA spotted an opportunity to set their plans back years.

The beauty of Thailand leaps off the page in this elegant love letter to the wonderful and dynamic country, and that beauty serves as the perfect backdrop for this spy thriller as two groups of secret agents play a game of chess with a devil-may-care scientist as a key piece. Author C. Edgar North has created a fascinating and entertaining protagonist in Todd Harris as his role as the bait in a trap for the Pakistani intelligence service plays an amusing second fiddle to his own determination to live his life to the fullest. The elaborate espionage game is well-conceived, with enough mystique about it to ensure that no player in the game ever feels truly safe until the end, and no outcome is ever assured. Overall, Todd’s Guardians is a refreshing alternative to the standard spy thriller with a central character who is beautifully disengaged from the cold war shenanigans going on around them.

Pikasho Deka

Todd's Guardians by C. Edgar North is an action-packed thriller set in the late 70s. Thirty-three-year-old Todd Harris thought he had it all figured out when the unexpected diagnosis of testicular cancer turned his life upside down. Coming out of a long-term relationship, Todd, a key member of one of America's recent nuclear programs, accepts an invitation for a two-week workshop for graduate engineers at an institute in Bangkok, Thailand. Mesmerized by Thailand's natural beauty and adventurous nightlife, Todd becomes increasingly reckless and starts living on the edge. Meanwhile, Pakistan's secret agency, ISI, has been tracking Todd and is determined to pick his brains to pursue their own nuclear ambitions. But the CIA isn't far behind as their agents infiltrate Todd's inner circle and are totally committed to protecting him at all costs.

A gripping tale of international espionage that provides thrills galore, Todd's Guardians is a wild rollercoaster of a ride from start to finish. Moving at a blistering pace, the plot navigates through unexpected twists and turns that always keep you guessing and glued to the pages. Author C. Edgar North creates some compelling and vibrant characters who wouldn't look out of place in a Jason Bourne novel. Despite Todd's many flaws, you find yourself sympathizing with his plight and can't help but root for him. In fact, Todd's morally grey outlook is what makes him such a fascinating character to read. The action scenes occur in quick bursts, are vividly described, and are a lot of fun to go through. Recommended to fans of action-oriented thrillers.

Vincent Dublado

Todd's Guardians by C. Edgar North is the thrilling story of a national asset that needs to be protected at all costs. Set in the late 1970s, Todd Harris is a thirty-three-year-old genius in electronic miniaturization and nuclear bomb design. His doctor hopes that Todd stays in remission. To keep his mind off his illness, his twin sister convinces him to conduct a lecture in Thailand that will be attended by the best engineering brains in Southeast Asia—all are anxious to learn more about Todd’s methodologies and latest breakthroughs. But while in Thailand, he draws the attention of Pakistan’s intelligence service. Pakistani Ph.D. students are tapping his phone, checking his mailbox, and going through his desk. With Todd becoming reckless as a result of his sterility from cancer, the CIA must double their efforts in keeping an eye on Todd.

C. Edgar North sure knows how to write a thrilling plot and give it a stylish intensity that is not just surface. It has a good degree of pacing that is neither rushed nor too slow. While the story is filled with action, it does invite contemplation from time to time. This is a spy thriller that garners plenty of interest. Unlike stories in the same genre, be it a film or a novel where you don’t invest any feelings for the bosses or government agents instrumental in intensifying the storyline, Todd’s Guardians will make you feel sympathetic for the CIA agents that do what they can to keep the main protagonist alive. The plot is brimming with politics, action, and intrigue, and it displays cleverness in the way North controls his craft. Anyone who loves a good spy thriller will enjoy this work.

Grant Leishman

Todd’s Guardians by C. Edgar North is an espionage thriller set in the 1970s in the exotic locale of Thailand. When Todd Harris, a young genius professor who has worked for the U.S, Government on top-secret nuclear technology, especially miniaturization of componentry, is diagnosed with testicular cancer and told he is now sterile, he feels his life is over. His fiancée dumped him as soon as she realized her dream of a family could not happen and Todd spirals downward into a self-destructive mode. Already seen by many as a brilliant, yet enigmatic man, Todd displays a callous disregard for others, deep selfishness, and a total lack of empathy for others’ suffering. Coupled with his seeming determination to push the boundaries of his own life, Todd is a very dangerous person. With his knowledge and high-security clearance, Todd is an obvious target for foreign players seeking nuclear weapons, such as Pakistan, the Arab States, and even Israel. When Todd’s twin sister June convinces him to take a sabbatical from his university work and experience the world for a change of perspective, he agrees to travel to Bangkok to speak at a technology conference. Falling in love with Thailand, when Todd decides to stay there longer, the CIA must mobilize all its forces in Southeast Asia to ensure his safety from foreign actors seeking his talents and knowledge.

Todd’s Guardians is an easy, uncomplicated read that can satisfactorily while away an afternoon. Author C. Edgar North has created an unusual character in Todd Harris. Brilliant and talented, Todd is a classic narcissistic sociopath, with absolutely no empathy for his fellow human beings, and coupling that with a desire to self-destruct, he is a walking time-bomb. This does make him a fascinating character and, for me, the highlight of the novel was watching how the professionals (the CIA and State Department actors) responded and reacted to Todd’s at times selfish and risk-taking behavior. The locale of Thailand was exotic and especially because of the era of the story, infinitely interesting. With Southeast Asia in the 1970s being such a hotbed of communist infiltration and agitation, it was indeed a prime area for western governments, and especially the USA to be concerned about and interested in. Having read something about the CIA’s activities prior to the 1990s, I was unsurprised by their attitudes, their motivations, and their callous disregard for the rules and conventions of civilized societies but I’m sure some readers will be stunned by their activities. In many ways, the tag line from the movie A Few Good Men kept running in my head – “you don’t want to know the truth!” - as I was reading this story. Few people will be aware of the power and excesses that went on under the guise of “national security” during that period when especially the CIA operated outside of normal governmental control. This was a fun read and I did enjoy aspects of it well enough to definitely recommend it.