Speed, danger and intense excitement is the order of the day for this book, the second outing for Will Starling. The Second World War is raging across Europe, the truly evil organisation, VIPER, is developing terrifying weapons, and Will seems to be the target for every kind of attack. Part thriller, part dangerous fantasy, this is a book where no one is who he or she seems to be, and there is danger everywhere for Will and Anna whose combat skills and quick thinking must meet every eventuality. There is also a large element of mystery as Will tries to recover memories of a family destroyed, his former life erased, and the possibility of his sister, alive but held by enemies, to be rescued. This is not a novel for the overly nervous, but all those who like their adventure fast moving and uncompromising will find much to enjoy here. I am very grateful to the publishers for supplying me with a copy of this totally involving book.
The adventure starts with Will in the company of two members of the French Resistance, Emile and Claudette, as they carry out an audacious act of sabotage involving sophisticated explosives. This is an introduction to the weaponry, fast cars and close shaves that Will must survive in order to forward the fight against Nazis who are in possession of much of France. While he feels sadness for those who do not survive the fight, this is the utterly ruthless way of this novel, where the body count is high, though the violence is largely impersonal. As he travels back to Britain, he realises that he regrets the death of the man who saved him early in “Sleeper”, and he takes some pleasure in avenging at least one wrong action. Anna Wilder reappears, and becomes a companion in adversity, fighting alongside him, but essentially unattainable. There is no time for romance as new weapons emerge, memories are evoked and survival is always a precarious challenge. Very few can be trusted, and even the apparently slow to act can be allies in the fight. Underlying all the fast action of the main story is a careful tale of a character whose very existence becomes a matter of speculation, and whose particular abilities make her both an agent of change and a target of many. Can Will manage the constant challenges he is faced with as well as the need to discover the truth?
Set against the background of the great buildings of Europe, this is a focused description of the fight in a world wide war, as well as fighting forces of evil with a personal agenda. There are hints of H.G.Wells “War of the Worlds” as a terrifying weapon is used, and hope of freedom fades. This is a powerful picture of wartime, with the extra dimension of fantasy danger; an inventive thriller, full of fast paced action, when evil is tackled head on. I enjoyed its challenges, and the varied ways Will deals with situations. Fennell’s style is sharp, purposeful and never allows the story to drag. Recommended for fans of Ian Fleming, this is an action thriller with some fascinating twists and superb plotting.
J.D. was born in Belfast at the start if the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help
understand the madness unfolding around him.
A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien,
Shakespeare and the Brontës.
He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in
writing for the software industry.
These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two
J.D.’s debut, Sleeper, was published by The Dome Press in April 2017.
I was really pleased to be asked to take part in the Blog Tour for such an imaginative book, and look forward to reading more from this inventive author.