“Blood Ties” by Warren Adler: tranquil and colorful
If you’re intrigued by the concept of “Blood Ties” as described by the publisher — the famed Von Kassel family — arms dealers for over a hundred years — suddenly find themselves in possession of stolen plutonium capable of creating the most destructive weapon on earth —, you will probably not be disappointed. Even now, so many years after it was originally published, Warren Adler’s “Blood Ties” endures. The story of the Von Kassel family and their arms dealing business feels strangely up to date; I don’t have the actual numbers but it seems likely there are as many weapons being traded today as there were in 1979. Possibly even more, although this is just guesswork on my behalf. Along with this original setting in international affairs come the beautiful location (a castle in a European mountain range) and a thrilling family history that is coming to its climax in the final pages. I enjoyed these colorful characters and their frustrations and obsessions. Warren Adler sketches them all with his usual skill. There is a darkness looming in “Blood Ties” from the very first pages. This novel is not a fast ride but it is full of surprises if you like people with all their faults and idiosyncrasies. Come to think of it, that may be the main attraction of this novel: to follow the Von Kassel family members, to learn about their histories and to watch them close to the edge, and some of them even further. See what you think.