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Until quite recently I thought I had picked by a novel by the former Conservative Minister (Lord) Jeffrey Archer. However, someone kindly advised me this Geoffrey Archer is a totally different person. I must admit I wondered in hind site about the difference in style between this and a very different writing style I had read in 'Trick of the Tail', written by Jeffrey.
About the author:
Now I have the correct Geoffrey Archer, this gentleman spent 25 years as a reporter for ITV, involved in Defence and Diplomatic reporting. His experiences helped to inspire and persuade him to turn his skills to writing. Since then he has become a household name for his suspense novels of which he has written 9 so far. This book was written back in 1989.
About the book:
Philip Hitchens is a troubled and disturbed man. In the past few days he has discovered that his wife Sarah has been sleeping around while he has been away from home. His mind is clearly not on Commanding his very powerful Nuclear Submarine HMS Truculent which is just beginning participation in a NATO exercise close to Soviet waters.
The situation is complicated by one of his wife's recent lovers that she has confessed to being a Russian spy. How will this usually calm and organised man react? This comes to light to the British authorities after he has left Plymouth and sends shock waves and grave concerns to all those in the know at the Naval Headquarters. As they realise they must intercept this loose cannon before it's too late and an incident occurs.
Communication is quickly lost with the Submarine as Hitchins embarks on his own mission. He advises his crew that they are on a very special secret mission and that only he has the orders for and he cannot share with them until much later into the trip. But what will his revenge be? Is he about to start a war between the Allies and Russia?
My thoughts on the book:
A very good, exciting and well written book. This was in start contrast to how I found his short stories book that lacked imagination and quality. I really was surprised by how much I enjoyed it having such low expectations and expecting to struggle to get throw it.
Initially I found the subject matter fascinating and this continued throughout the book. It was a very well constructed story that had me unsure of the outcome until the final few pages. It was a nail biting conclusion and a real page turner for me.
What I think the author did brilliantly in this book is tie everything together really well. He set each scene really well and skilfully kept that reader informed about what each involved party were feeling, thinking and going to do about the changing position.
He created a simple enough analogy with a bitter row between husband and wife. That could occur to anyone at any time in a relationship and made the direst and scary situation imaginable with the possibilities of this personal matter like this leading to not only an International incident but a World War.
The characters in the book were all well developed as you read further into the book. And while you could understand and sympathise with Philip's position due to the quality of the author's writing he created uncertainty and unease in the readers mind as to how he would react. Especially as part way throw the novel he brought an additional factor into the Commanders fragile state of mind. This left me wondering how he would react and which route he would end up taking.
Clearly the author has a very good and clear insight into the Political World. The impact of a simple situation and the possible ramifications of it where highlighted and explained very well.
His writing was clear and concise with excellent details and background to all sides involved in the book. I felt through his writing I could understand and relate to all the characters view points. And he did it in a skilful way that did not show bias or stereotyping of characters or sides.
The only thing I can really say against the book is that it involves a lot 'Cold War' politics, so if you don't like that then this is not the book for you.
The author's writing style was very descriptive and he built up a lot of suspense and mystery throughout the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense and intrigue adventure.
It was an excellent story and adapted to show how a simple situation can have very grave repercussions for everyone. Even if you don't like the man or his politics (joke!) I do think he created an exciting first class novel and one which despite it's age still very relevant today.
Published by Arrow Books
Amazon Price: New £3.99
Author site: www.geoffrey.archer.co.uk
Thanks for reading my reviews!!
This review was also posted on Ciao.
@CPTDANIELS December 2008