Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Expansion by Christoph Martin. I will be sharing a character spotlight on Max Burns who is protagonist of the novel.
In politics and big business, truth is a matter of opinion.
Straddling the storyworlds of Panama, Washington and London, The Expansion follows British-born geomatic engineer Max Burns, whose revolutionary water-saving system wins him the esteemed position of head engineer for one of the 21st century’s most politically contested megaprojects: the expansion of the Panama Canal.
For Max it is a dream come true: not only is he able to work closely with construction giant and old high-school friend Godfredo Roco in one of the most beautiful tropical environments, but it’s the kind of job Max has been working toward his entire career.
Yet in the arena of global trade and diplomacy, stakes are high, and when a senior official of the Panama Canal Administration is found dead, Max finds himself in the frame for sabotage and murder, and at the centre of a web of political intrigue and betrayal that reaches far beyond the idyllic shores of Central America. The only person Max can trust is his new-found love, Karis Deen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Except Karis herself holds a secret that could not only destroy Max, but could change the entire balance of world power.
The Expansion is available now!
Who is Max Burns?
The Expansion (the first of a series) was written by a collaborative writing team: Christoph Martin Zollinger and Libby O’Loghlin.
Max Burns is a character that popped into Chris’s head one day while he was on a flight from Panama to Zürich, Switzerland.
Max is a thoroughly good guy who winds up in extraordinary circumstances, and must dig himself out of the global political vipers’ nest using every resource he has! He pretty much embodies the entire story of the expansion of the Panama Canal from the very beginning, with all its unexpected twists and turns.
Max originally came from a very rich family who had a country estate in England, but he was orphaned at age 14, so he spent many years learning to survive in the poverty-stricken housing estates of outer London. Max’s survival was in part due to the fact that he had an adult in his life who had no money at all but who loved him and believed in him 100%.
Max also developed a determined work ethic and a policy of caution over those years, and he tended to bury the fun-loving side to his personality because of the cards life dealt him, and it’s really only when he reunites with his party-loving, larger-than-life school friend, Godfredo Roco, that he starts to wonder what he’s been missing. Then, when he meets and falls in love with Karis Deen in Panama, he really becomes the fun-loving adventurer he used to be.
Max is clever, sometimes snarky, and he likes a debate for the sake of debate, so you probably wouldn’t want to get into an argument with him, especially not about something technical, because he knows his stuff!
He values transparency and honesty above all things. And this is the biggest irony! Did we mention the Defense Clandestine Service and undercover agents? And a political conspiracy?! But the interesting thing about Max is that he’s a survivor: he has lived through a lot already by the time he gets to Panama, and he’s learned he can trust that the steps he takes are the right ones for himself. And they usually are. Except suddenly, without any warning, everything starts going wrong around him, until everything he’s worked for and his whole future is at risk. And he has to muster the strength and find out if he has what it takes to fight for control of his life!
About the Author:
Christoph Martin is the writing team of Christoph Martin Zollinger and Libby O’Loghlin. Christoph Zollinger is a Swiss entrepreneur whose career spans legal, military, corporate and private enterprise. Christoph graduated with a law degree from the University of Zürich, after which time he went on to live and work in Panama in corporate and private enterprise for more than a decade. In 2012 he returned to Switzerland with his wife and children. He divides his time between his home in Zürich and a tiny Alpine village in Graubünden. Libby O’Loghlin is an Australian novelist and prize-winning short story writer who has a career in narrative media production, including film and television, as well as print and digital publishing. She has lived in the UK, USA and Malaysia, and she now lives with her family in Switzerland.