‘The Spy who Sank the Armada’ by David West is an exciting historical tale of espionage in a tumultuous time in European History. The start of a series that introduces us to Anthony Standen, whose interest in languages leads him to a career as a spy. After Anthony is trained he travels throughout the world to earn his fortune and prove to his parents that he can find success outside of a career in Law and return to provide for Francesca, a beautiful Italian girl he’s fallen for. An incredibly detailed and well-thought out book, the research into the historical events and characters throughout pays dividends as the reader is immersed in a fully fleshed out and authentic setting. Aside from the settings, it is clear that a great deal of research has gone into all aspects of this book including the languages that Anthony learns and the mathematics required for the ciphers. I enjoyed the plot, it has plenty of action and twists and turns as Anthony experiences both successes and hardships. A solid historical fiction, with plenty of intrigue I think that any fans of historical fiction would find this book entertaining. It’s been enjoyable getting to know all of the characters and the book sets up nicely for the instalment of the series, ‘Fire and Earth’. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Fire and Earth’ by David West is an interesting mystery set in the 1600s, when heliocentricity (the idea that the earth orbited the sun) was considered heresy. When a number of priests are found dead on Saint’s days, burned and circled by a mound of earth, it is thought that the culprit may be one of these heretic, scientific thinkers. Employed to investigate is Sir Antony Standen, a retired spy with an open mind and a unique skill set. I enjoyed this story, I could tell that a great deal of research has been put into the story in order to ensure that the setting felt authentic, with historical events and figures interwoven into the plot. I found the lead characters, Sir Anthony Standen and his fellow detective Hugh, the exiled Early of Tyrone, were entertaining, although I did find Hugh’s Irish dialect to be from time to time, more akin to Yoda in phrasing than Irish “ With Francesca safe and sound you’ll be,” (p.19 as a small example). However, aside from bringing a bit of a smile to my face as I read, it didn’t detract from the story too much. The prologue did a very good job at drawing the reader in, being witness to one of the crimes we are about to see investigated raised lots of questions and naturally entices the reader to keep reading. In all I enjoyed the story, I can see the scope for more books connected to these characters and I would be interested in reading future books. I think fans of historical fiction, perhaps those that enjoyed ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and fans of mysteries more broadly would enjoy this book.
In Follett’s first contemporary thriller for more than a decade, he imagines the unimaginable, a cat and mouse game of brinkmanship between nuclear powers. Expertly researched and brilliantly crafted, this 800 page epic is unputdownable. It’s a cover-to-cover action-packed mammoth tale of weaving multiple interrelated story lines, with captivating characters and intriguing plots with tension, terror, heartache, love, betrayal. US President Pauline Green fights at home and abroad to prevent nuclear disaster as the book moves from Defcon 5, the lowest state of readiness, to Defcon 1, the brink of war. We follow the incredible work of Abdul Haddad, a spy working undercover with jihadis in Chad. Nearby, a beautiful young widow Kiah and her son Naji want to leave the shrinking shores of Lake Chad, escape their fate and travel illegally to Europe, no matter how terrifying the journey is with human traffickers. We fall for Tamara Levit a CIA operative attached to the American embassy in N’Djamena and her French counterpart Tab Sadoul, an attaché at the European Union Mission who are following the trail of a powerful group of drug-smuggling terrorists. In China, we support the machinations of Chinese spymaster Kai Chang, an ambitious senior government official battling against the old guard. Covert operations, terrorist activities, arms dealers, drug smugglers, human traffickers, government coups, military skirmishes – it has it all. And Ken Follett delivers it with aplomb. Hold on to your seats, it’s a bumpy rollercoaster ride!
Reacher never backs down from a problem. And he's about to find a big one, on a deserted Arizona road, where a Jeep has crashed into the only tree for miles around. Under the merciless desert sun, nothing is as it seems. Minutes later Reacher is heading into the nearby border town, a backwater that has seen better days. Next to him is Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent, who is trying to find her twin brother. He might have got mixed up with some dangerous people. And Reacher might just need to pay them a visit. Their leader has burrowed his influence deep into the town. Just to get in and meet the mysterious Dendoncker, Reacher is going to have to achieve the impossible. To get answers will be even harder. There are people in this hostile, empty place who would rather die than reveal their secrets. But then, if Reacher is coming after you, you might be better off dead.
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian's evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian's family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise. When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . . Silverview is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from the greatest chronicler of our age, John le Carré asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.
Available in Hardback Paperback and Kindle. A pacy espionage thriller, with a science fiction twist and a whole squad of strong female characters. ‘Killing Queens’ by Raechel Sands introduces us to Nearby, an MI6 intelligence officer who tells the reader about her connections and experiences with other agents she calls, the Black Queen, the White Queen and the Red queen. In a world of MI6, spies and modification to make “purple blood” super-assassins, this is the first of the Killing Queens saga. The Irish dialect used by Nearby to tell this story seems authentic although it sometimes seems to seep into the perspectives of the other characters, which I found a little jarring. I loved the author’s use of imagery throughout, “stopped with the sound of snow coming to rest” was a particular favourite. The author certainly manages to pack a lot into the book, even creating and referencing a playlist that can be listened to in accompaniment. This is a detailed story that combines noir, espionage, adventure and satire; those that enjoy the irreverence of Villanelle in ‘Killing Eve’ will find similar characters here. The plot switches between past and present in order to include all three of the queens in the story, providing the reader with backstory while also continuing the action. The author has done well to structure the book so that you can follow the characters and the timelines without getting lost. One slight niggle I do have about the structure is the use of footnotes. I personally prefer any information that’s vital to the plot to be woven through it, not tagged on as a footnote, and would have preferred to not be pulled out of the action to read additional and potentially unnecessary explanations. ‘Killing Queens’ is an interesting story with a cast of strong female characters. This is an entertaining book for someone looking for a slightly unconventional action and espionage thriller with a sci-fi/fantasy twist and filled with dark humour.
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian's evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish emigre living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian's family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise. When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . . Silverview is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from the greatest chronicler of our age, John le Carre asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.
The gripping new thriller from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller Jeffery Deaver Twist left. Unique Investigator Colter Shaw is searching for the answer to his father's final, posthumous riddle. It will lead him to evidence that will topple the secretive espionage company, BlackBridge. Twist right. He believes BlackBridge to be responsible for his father's murder and brother's disappearance. They can outmanoeuvre anyone, as the long trail of bodies behind them can confirm. But they haven't yet met Colter Shaw. Don't slip up. This time the stakes are huge - the fate of a nation is in Colter's hands. He must find the solution as to why his father died - but to do that he needs to stay alive...