I’ve read every one of Gerald Seymour’s novels since his debut with Harry’s Game, unbelievably forty five years ago now, and I have to say he very rarely disappoints. His thrillers aren’t all action blockbusters, instead concentrating on constructing believable real world characters and plot lines, slow burners that inevitably and inexorably build to an exciting climax. This new one is no exception, introducing a George Smiley like MI5 man who has a reputation as a reliable but unspectacular desk jockey who never sees any front line action himself. He is tasked with tracking a British Jihadi returning from the conflict in Syria to commit a final headline-grabbing act of terrorism to avenge fallen comrades and pay back a society he feels has wronged him since childhood. The pursuit initially is more mental than physical as his potential movements are plotted and predicted, and it’s only really in the book’s final section that, as the tension mounts, the action springs to life after a long build up. You can probably hazard a good guess at the eventual outcome, although the ending has quite an ingenious turn of events that took me by surprise. A fine read if you stick with it, but all veteran Seymour readers will know to expect a gradual ratcheting up of the pace rather than a thrill a minute rollercoaster ride in this portrayal of two men who are polar opposites, engaged in a gripping game of cat and mouse.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Seymour’s numerous previous novels, thrillers in general.
One thing you’ve learned
This is the first of his novels where the main action all takes place within England.