- Author Jack Higgins
Very mixed feelings on this one. As an action/adventure thriller, it’s certainly intriguing enough to sustain interest throughout. It’s a unique style in which the protagonist is the bad guy, and whilst there is almost equal time given to those hunting him down, I think we’re supposed to root for the terrorist here. I suspect he becomes less bad in subsequent books, but here we’re talking about a guy that signs up to kill one or more leading figures in British Parliament in the late 80s/early 90s.
It’s a fictionalised account of what led up to the mortar attack on Downing Street, and thus it features some real life political figures. That’s fine, but I was a bit uncomfortable with having them play such prominent speaking roles. Reading what John Major didn’t say, or what Saddam Hussein probably said many times in his life doesn’t make for happy reading for me. And if that is meant to be the actual Gordon Brown; well, there are no words.
I don’t quite understand the motivation behind it, because the disclaimer at the end says characters and events are either fiction or fictionalised, but all similarities are coincidental. You can’t have it both ways, surely? You can’t write words into the mouth of John Major, Prime Minister, and then say it’s a coincidence that he’s like John Major, actual Prime Minister?
That was quite a big problem for me, but if we put that aside, it was a good thriller. There were some key things that made it slightly less believable - characters that would never spill out their whole plan before killing someone (or failing to kill them so the plan goes back to the other side), the maverick attitude of the good guys with their planes and their guns and their covering everything up, and the ending. I can’t believe they didn’t check.
Overall, it was an entertaining, if uncomfortable and unbelievable read. It kept me interested and was super easy to whip through in a couple of days, but I’m not sure I’d check any more of the series out.