Reportedly, there is nothing more boring than finances. I know something about it, because for a dozen or so years I’ve been bravely wading through tables in the Excel format and looking for something that shouldn’t be there. And when you add the law, a small company based in Cracow and an international investment fund to finance? Hmm… sounds intriguing. After all, John Grisham has been proving for many years that a courtroom is the perfect setting for a gripping thriller, so maybe another John – John Lynch – will show that the devil is in the details but between the financial documents and files in the Polish courts.

The main character of ‘The Ark’ is a young American businessman of Polish descent who has made successful attempts to run a small fashion company for several years. For the purpose of entering larger, international markets, he decides to find an investor – the titular ‘The Ark’ – an international investment fund. What the man doesn’t know is that he has become involved in dodgy business dealings and that his partner is not who he wants to be. For its founder, the Ark has been supposed to be a source of easy money. However, incompetently managed, it has quickly begun to sink and its only salvation is to be a hostile takeover of a Polish company in order to fix its own holes and secure its interests. From day to day the struggle begins not to be destroyed by the dishonest fund and to keep afloat.

Unusually, in spite of the fact that ‘The Ark’ is a debut, it’s a surprisingly pleasant and light read. It might seem that a barrage of specialist information from various field areas such as law, economics, economy, fashion can overwhelm and kill the action, but the author comes out of it with a winning hand. He creates a credible story, solidly rooted in the Polish reality, which keeps you in suspense from the first to the last page. This is probably due to the fact that Lynch, a foreigner, observes our legal and reality absurdities from the outside. He explains them nicely and builds the plot on their basis.

The plot is mind-blowing, abounds in dramatic twists and keeps you guessing until the last pages. Certainly, there are a lot of references to economy, management, because this is the area in which the characters operate and where the decisive struggle for power must take place. But this is explained very clearly and in no way interferes with the dramatic structure.

I must admit that it has been a little strange to look at Poland and Cracow through the eyes of a foreigner. The world that I know and that is obvious suddenly gets an additional ‘interpretation’. At first, it has annoyed me, but then I have begun to look at things differently and I have realised how many things are not obvious, especially for people from other countries.

‘The Ark’ is a very enjoyable read, riveting, surprising and showing a new, rather treated as boring, area. It brings freshness to the world of thrillers by mixing Polish and American realities and revealing the backstage of the world of great finance and even greater scams. Recommended!