Skip to main content

The Bancroft Strategy


The Bancroft Strategy

Robert Ludlum, though deceased, left enough work in progress
that his creative legacy continues to build even after his death.
THE BANCROFT STRATEGY, the latest of the post-mortem offerings
published under his name, contains the trademark elements of a
Ludlum novel --- grand concepts, deceptions and action --- as well
as a few twists to keep the pages turning and the reader

In its first half, THE BANCROFT STRATEGY proceeds along two tracks
that slowly begin to intersect. The first concerns Todd Belknap,
a(n) (in)famous Consular Operations field agent who doesn't play
well with others while employed with a clandestine agency that
thrives on teamwork. Belknap finds himself out of a job when one of
his operations goes wrong. At the same time, however, Belknap
discovers that Jared Rinehart, another legendary agent --- and a
man to whom Belknap owes his life --- has been abducted while
working an undercover mission. When he learns that Rinehart is to
be left to his fate, Belknap, without official resources or backup,
begins a one-man operation to rescue Rinehart, racing against time
to pull him from the clutches of a shadowy entity known only as

Meanwhile, the second track of THE BANCROFT STRATEGY proceeds at a
more sedate pace. Andrea Bancroft is an up-and-coming hedge fund
analyst who is suddenly offered a chair on a Bancroft family
foundation run by Paul Bancroft, the family patriarch. Andrea had
no previous contact with that branch of her family and is
intrigued. The foundation, known as a benign think tank dedicated
to strategic resolution of the world's ills, is offering Andrea a
salary beyond anything for which she could have wished or hoped.
However, she soon learns that there is a darker side to the
foundation, one that seems to be linked to a mysterious individual
named Genesis.

As Andrea's investigation into the Foundation intersects with
Belknap's pursuit of Reinhart's abductors, they both find they are
being drawn deeper and deeper into a dangerous quagmire that has a
common source, and that the success or failure of their respective
missions will create repercussions that will resonate far beyond
their lives.

While there are parts of THE BANCROFT STRATEGY that don't quite
work --- the mashup of Belknap and Bancroft seems a bit forced ---
one gets so carried away in the derring-do that takes place here
that once having started this novel it is difficult to stop until
the end. There are also a couple of occurrences that you'll never
see coming that make the book worth reading. While it may not win
Ludlum any new readers at this late date, THE BANCROFT STRATEGY
will certainly keep the faithful happy.


Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

The Bancroft Strategy
by Robert Ludlum

  • Publication Date: October 17, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 0312316739
  • ISBN-13: 9780312316730