Thrilling page turner where British Military Intelligence and Middle Eastern Politics collide
Spanning the years, we get to know our hero, Ray Kazan, in 1969 as a rookie at Sandhurst College, England during Military Officer training, where he is studying alongside Baqar El Kordy, a Jordanian soldier sent to Britain to attain the same status. The pair soon become firm friends and “pass out” together from the gruelling officer training experience. After the end of course celebrations, Baqar returns to Jordan and Ray strikes up a friendship with Baqar’s sister Leyla. This starts a parallel storyline, of which provides some of the more tender and heartbreaking moments in the book.
Baqar and Ray are thrown together again following two high profile murders that take place in a hotel in Paris which requires a joint intelligence job. We see how the pair have progressed as soldiers since they were last together and move with them as the challenges they face add life experience beyond their years.
Here the novel fans out as we meet an assassin, Nadeem, and begin to understand his psyche and motivations, juxtaposed against those who have hired him to retrieve a stolen letter at all costs. We follow Nadeem from his humble Middle Eastern beginnings to a life of luck and privilege in wealthy Paris and beyond, once this life is irreparably shattered.
As more men in the assassin’s hierarchy die or kill themselves after Ray and Baqar start getting leads, it is clear how ruthless the terror organisation is and how Ray cannot be sure who he can trust. Although he meets many collaborators along the way, he does in essence act alone in his mission.
As the mysterious Nadeem continues to evade capture, the reign of terror continues from other quarters with tragic consequences for Ray.
I won’t give any spoilers here, but there are many moral dilemmas and incidents That occur for all sides of the story that really gets to the heart of why a man becomes a killer for a cause.
I really enjoyed this book, it moved at pace with its thrilling, slick storyline and was wonderfully set in a number of gritty locations both in Europe and the Middle East. The military detail is fabulous and clearly authentic. Although several strands to this story, each thread was distinct and dealt with both human and fatalistic approaches to life and the extremes of bravery required when put in the line of fire for one’s duty.
The final twist leaves enough ambiguity for a follow up novel, and as luck would have it, an extract of book 2 is provided. I look forward to reading more in the series! Well worth a look!
REVIEWED BY: Susie Fiddes,