If you want an absolutely unputdownable thriller, that starts with a bang, twists and turns all the way through and climaxes with the promise of more to come, then Silver is for you.
This is currently only available in ebook format in the UK, but hope for a print version for this and the upcoming sequel Gold are high.
A religious thriller, laden with twisted prophecy and stunningly detailed action, Silver drags you along with the Ogmios team for a bumpy ride as they attempt to get to the root of the conspiracy and defeat its protagonists.
The skill of the author is not only in depicting gritty and realistic action with the well constructed characters, but also in not just finishing the book with the good guys clearly on top - it is the first in a Trilogy after all - and no matter how many bad guys the Team take out, there always seem to be more standing behind them ready to take over.
There is genuine worry for the fate of mankind, such is the seemingly limitless power and reach of the protagonists and the thoroughly believable take on the pieces of Silver in question and the beliefs that spring from them.
If you have read the Da Vinci Code or similar - read this, it's better.
If you haven't read any thrillers like this because you don't think a religion-based storyline would interest you - read this - it's well worth the ride.
(previously posted by me on Amazon.co.uk)
I usually browse the cheap kindle section on Amazon and was intrigued when I came across the unanimous 5 star 'Silver' by Steven Savile, which was available for a mere 70p. It is rare for a book to have 100% 5 star ratings (admittedly from only 10 reviewers) so I decided to take a chance on it.
The story is an increasingly common one, riding on the coattails of Dan Brown's success. In this case Savile has written a tale around the Disciples of Judas, a religious group who believe that Judas was the true messiah and that his true place in history has been overwritten by people in the years following his death. To draw attention to their cause the group have promised forty days and forty nights of terror. These events start with 13 people burning themselves alive in a synchronised fashion across Europe. Each person delivers a similar message about the upcoming days of terror before they take their own lives. There appears to be little to connect the people and they all appear to be acting of their own free will.
We are then introduced to Ogmios. A black-ops group lead by Sir Charles Wyndham. Wyndham is more of a figure head than a leader. He is wheel-chair bound and co-ordinates the team of hand chosen operatives. These operatives are treated equally within the story and all have interesting issues and backgrounds. The writing style was unlike any I had read before. Rather than progress the bigger story, Savile followed one operative on their own part of the mission at the expense of all others. This tended to focus the reader exclusively on that part of the story and it was often a shock when this part was then dropped to go on to the next operative. How much of an issue this will be will probably depend on how much time you can devote to each session. If you prefer to read in small chunks then it may be initially difficult to remember what each operative was up to. It did feel that you were reading lots of small stories though, rather than a part of a bigger story. I could understand this more if it were written in the first person as that is how each operative would view the situation; however it is written in the third person.
Having said that I think this style was the thing that helped display Savile's ability as an author. Whether he was in the mindsight of a Russian male or an Israeli female you can actually feel the difference. Each character has his unique traits and ways of speaking that really illustrate that they are individuals. Not an easy task when you have half a dozen characters to do this convincingly with.
Another nice touch was that the odd chapter was set back in the time of Judas and his immediate descendants. This didn't form much of the story but it added a lot of the backstory and gave details which someone who wasn't familiar with the bible would find invaluable. I found myself hoping for more chapters from this era, something that is not usually the case when I read books primarily set in modern times.
My interest in the historical story peaked quite early on in the book which was a little disappointing. Most of the revelations occur in the opening third and I found that I was less and less interested in the Judas angle as the story progressed. This wasn't too much of an issue as Savile is a fantastic writer of fast paced action. It's just a small warning though if you are expecting this to focus heavily on the Judas part of the story.
Savile is clearly an intelligent author who has taken his research seriously. He threads together the details of his plot very well and is able to quote inconsistencies in the gospels to strengthen the case of the fanatics. You could argue that some of the dialogue is a little like a sermon but I guess it's pretty difficult to put across some of the large scale ideas he has without it appearing that way.
The only down side to the book was the very abrupt ending. It literally just finished with no warning which made me feel that I had only read half the story. There is a sequel due this year (inevitably called 'Gold') but it felt a bit like you were being cheated in this book. As mentioned above this book is really cheap at 70p but I hope that this is not a route authors are tempted to go down; offering half a story for a cheap price and then charging a lot more for the sequel.
As disappointing as the ending was there were a number of pages from the author where he explained a lot of how the story came into being. No doubt worried by the Dan Brown comparisons he explains he had been working on the story for a number of years before Dan Brown released anything and actually despaired at Brown's success with something so close to his story. These pages were excellent and revealed a lot about the thought process and sources he used. I would like more authors to provide these details where they are relevant and interesting.
The hardback version is a ridiculously overpriced £12.40 but the Kindle version for 70p is well worth a download just now (in case the price rises). I would be tempted to hang off reading it until the sequel has been released then you can read the whole story (assuming it's concluded in the next one!).
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