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Brian Landers started writing newspaper columns to help pay his university bar bills and since then has written articles for various journals, newspapers and websites. He was once interviewed for a job at the government spy agency GCHQ in Cheltenham but decided that travelling the world would be more exciting. His first full time role was helping a former Director General of Defence Intelligence and a motley collection of ex-spooks set up a political intelligence unit in the City of London. Out of this sprang the character of Thomas Dylan, a novice who over the years progresses through the labyrinthine world of British Intelligence. Later, as a director of Waterstone's and then of Penguin his love of writing was rekindled. His first book, Empires Apart was published in the UK, US and India and was largely written while commuting to work. He has an MBA from London Business School and in 2018 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Corkscrewing through Italy, there is a tangled web of intrigue to unravel in this stimulating spy novel. We start during the summer of 1977 and the murder of relatives of the Director General of Defence Intelligence. The second in the Dylan Series highlights a mystery under the cloak of espionage thriller. I advise that you begin with Awakening of Spies, as I don’t feel that this is a series you can step into the middle of due to the intricacies of setting. Knowing the central characters meant I could focus on the rest of the plot (again though, no wandering off as you need to concentrate). The writing feels as though you are reading a memoir, with Thomas Dylan’s memories spilling forth onto the page. Brian Landers ensured that I was in the 1970’s and I really felt the history and spirit of the time. Families of Spies, delving as it does into the not too distant past, is an interesting and convincing read.
Convincing and atmospheric, the first in the Dylan Series sets itself as a serious espionage thriller. Thomas Dylan joins the Defence Intelligence Staff as an analyst but finds himself in the hot seat when things go awry. I will admit that it took me a while to settle in as there is a lot of information to take on board. Once I had though, I thoroughly enjoyed this intricately plotted novel featuring a somewhat novice spy. Set in the early 1970’s there is a real sense of the time in the tone, plus a feeling of affection for the age in the writing. I could picture myself settling down to watch this as a film with the action playing out in front of me. It felt as though I was reading an actual diary, and Brian Landers with his previous links to the world of intelligence, has created a true feeling of authenticity. Set yourself aside quality reading time as this is one that you will need to concentrate on. Awakening of Spies is the first in a new series and I look forward to seeing what comes next for Thomas Dylan.
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