Friday, October 8, 2010

The Pigeon Project (published in 1979) by Irving Wallace - the elixir of youth

Irving Wallace was born in Chicago, to Jewish parents,Bessie and Alexander Wallace Who had Emigrated from Russia. He completed his studies in California and started out as a journalist at a tender age of 15. He studied creative writing at the Williams Institute in Berkley and from the mid-30s he worked as a free-lance correspondent. In 1941 he married Sylvia Kahn; they had two children. Irving Wallace served in the air force during world war two and later collaborated in several movies as a writer. His first book “Sins of Peter Fleming" did not attract much attention. But his second book influenced by the Kinsey report was a best seller. He has been a prolific churner of best sellers and his books have been adapted as major movies.
What do you do if you can attain eternal life, beauty and youth? Will you prefer living for ever, even after all your loved ones and friends have gone? Even if you attain the elixir of youth would you keep it for yourself or you will share it with mankind. These are the answer's the Pigeon Project is looking for.

Professor Davis Macdonald, an American scientist working in the USSR has discovered the elusive formula which will prolong the life span indefinitely. This fountain of youth or the Elixir is one of the most coveted boon for mankind throughout its history. Now that the formula is perfected the Soviets want it all for them selves and are definitely not willing to share it with the world.

So MacDonald flees the country, ostensibly to attend a medical conference in Venice. The Soviets send in agents to track down the professor and his invention. They enlist the support of the Italian communist to seal all the escape route's and block Venice.
Tim Jordan is an American writer working in Venice, and he accidentally bumps in to the the scared Macdonald. He befriends the hapless professor and promises to help him. So begins the action with Tom and professor trying to remain one step ahead of their pursuer. In his frantic efforts to safeguard the professor Tom puts him up with friends ans acquaintances. But betrayal follows him everywhere, even from one of his most trusted friend. Soon many others join the quest for the elusive dream of youth. This includes, a sexy film star, an American millionaire, a wily priest and a countess. This action packed story moves through the streets ans canals of Venice involving, speed boats, helicopters and car chases. The whole adrenaline punch is prepared by the massive lock out of Venice where escape is thwarted even at the last minute. So Tom manages to get the professor out along with a beautiful love at the end of the story.
The best thing about the book is the description of Venice ny the author. He has researched every nook and corner of the city which is evident from his graphic and eloquent presentation. It almost reds as a Lonely Planet's description of Venice.
This is not my favorite book of Irving Wallace. The premise of the Elixir of Youth has high potential with lot of philosophical and spiritual questions attached to it. Wallace does not address this part of the story and focuses just on the action side. Anyway it is a well narrated story and makes up a cool time pass.

The Pigeon Project (published in 1979) by Irving Wallace - the elixir of youth

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