The writing of The Checkmate Pendulum began when I was Director General for Economics and Finance at the EU Commission in Brussels. At that time, three related events shocked the world: the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Germany was reunited, and the EU single currency was planned. Personal notes taken during confidential  negotiations associated with these developments provide some of the background material for the novel, a fictional representation of international affairs that retains all of its actuality.
Ten years later, as Secretary General of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) I was in an ideal position to gather evidence that financial crises have common causes:  politicians’ ineptitude, regulators’ complacency, and bankers’ greed.  To expose these behaviors and contain their damage, the novel launches The Mammon Prize for Outstanding Greed.”
The novel’s epic conclusion, rich in revelations and implications, was written – and it could not have been otherwise – when I served as the ‘United Nations drug czar,’ namely as the Under-Secretary General in charge of fighting drugs, crime and terrorism.
The only part of The Checkmate Pendulum that does not come from my personal experience is the military confrontation that ends the nuclear intrigue. That air battle is narrated on the basis of tactical plans designed by NATO jet-fighter pilots.


Antonio Maria Costa holds a degree in mathematical economics from the Moscow State University (1967), and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley (1971).  In the ’80s and the ‘90s he was Under-Secretary-General at the OECD (Paris), Director-General for Economics and Finance at the EU Commission (Brussels), and Secretary-General of the EBRD (London).
In 2002 Kofi Annan named him Director General of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (in Vienna), with the rank of Undersecretary General, for an unprecedented 2-term mandates that ended in September 2010.
Mr. Costa is currently the editor-in-chief of the foremost academic journal of applied economic models. The recipient of major international awards and laurea honoris causa, he is a member of the scientific committee of the Foundation Centesimum Annum pro Pontefice.