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Siding with the Angels















Cheryl Walker’s plan for ASI Inc. is daring, brilliant, worth billions: to create a new international market… in water. What better place to begin than the Middle East? By chance—or is it?—she meets an unemployed Egyptian engineer and is off to sell the largest water project ever.

The bureaucracy is Byzantine and hostile, but, under US pressure, the Egyptians sign and Cheryl becomes an international star. But opposition emerges and quickly becomes massive. There are strikes and sabotage, violent protests and angry denunciations. Americans and Israelis flee.

Meanwhile, concerns are growing in Houston that Cheryl’s scary cash burn rate and very aggressive accounting threaten to sink the whole company. Rather than face her accusers, she attends a world-famous wine festival in France. That’s when the real trouble begins.


A thriller that takes you from America’s boardrooms to the World Economic Forum via the streets of Cairo and a French medieval monastery. A dramatic confrontation between a charismatic American and a reclusive Arab professor becomes non-stop news in the U.S.

What does this story—inspired by actual events—have to do with 12th century monks and the Second Crusade? And what desperate plot brings two implacable adversaries together?






Published by Collioure Books in "trade" (high quality) paperback.

349 pages





“...Extremely polished...” “...Creative, yet frighteningly plausible...” “...A cast of memorable characters...” “...Intriguing elements at play...” —New York literary agents

“...An excellent book. Vigoda writes with a great depth of human understanding and a brilliant sense of suspense and action. His characters are vivid and compelling...” “...This suspense-laden thriller... provides excellent, believable character development... [It] keeps us wondering whose side we’re on.” “Vigoda... brings a deep understanding of current events to a fictional page-turner...” “This book has it all, an intriguing plot, well-defined characters, history, current events, an ethical conundrum, intelligence, and it is written well to boot...” “A virtuoso performance in print: engrossing, compelling, suspenseful. Compares favorably to Umberto Eco.” —Amazon reviews



    So it had gone as planned and she could indulge herself in a family-sized portion of smugness. Though there had been one moment of doubt. Just one, but it was a stomach churner. That was when the size of the billion dollar investment she was calling for became real. That was what those equity slivers amounted to, a billion dollars. She had stopped working suddenly to calculate the height of a stack of one billion one dollar bills. She estimated it was 78.9 miles.
    She tried to imagine a pile of money 78.9 miles high. Passenger jets flew at, what, seven miles up? This was eleven times that. She lived on the top floor of her apartment building. What floor would that have to be to equal the height of the money? She estimated it would take 1,446 apartment buildings, one on top of the other. One thousand four hundred forty-six apartment buildings. That would put her on the forty-six thousand two hundred and seventy-second floor. She tried to imagine what the view would be from up there.

    Cheryl confronted Dick directly and he admitted that little surveillance bit was his doing, but swore he was under orders from ‘Upstairs.’ He also swore he had nothing to do with the press leak, and was shocked when he heard about a protest demonstration. It sounded sincere enough. Was it possible Gordimer would hire a spy to check up on her? Why didn’t he just ask, or put somebody on her payroll?
    “Are you telling me Gordimer hired a spy to check up on me?”
    “Cheryl,” he sighed. “Let’s not forget we all work for the same company, okay? If you lose, we all lose. I lose too.”
    Possible; but the more likely scenario was simpler: It was Dick, trying to get some dirt on her. In the short run he could be telling the truth: ASI was putting a lot of money in Egypt. If she came up empty, it would hurt the company. But, long term, this had more to do with accumulating ammunition for their eventual shoot-out. She was sure of it, because he knew as well as she that ASI would never be big enough for both of them.

    At 6:30 a.m., the American Embassy released a formal statement advising all non-essential U.S. nationals to leave Egypt forthwith. U.S. military aircraft were being flown in to supplement commercial fleets.
    By noon, the scenes at Cairo International were described as chaotic. Swarms of Americans attempting to flee with hastily packed bags, many with children in tow, did not seem reassured by the large number of paramilitary soldiers in black combat uniforms, M-16s at the ready.
    Rumors spread of full scale riots, of Americans being shot, one fatally. Then it was two, soon “more than a dozen murders had been confirmed.” Islamic terrorists were said to be everywhere on the rampage, hospitals struggling to treat all the wounded. Parents everywhere could be seen crouching to the level of their young children, trying to reassure them, but the children reacted to the look in their eyes, not their words.






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