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Craig Lawrence
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This is a good old fashioned thriller which actually lives up to this claim. The hero is a former Gurkha officer, Harry Parker, who still has links to his former comrades. This is the second book featuring this character, but this is a completely stand-alone book with few references back to the first book, more for continuity than as part of the story. While not necessary to read book one, I may just get a copy and give it a go as this is a cracker of a book, if you are into thriller novels.

From the start the book is fast paced and a great read. Set mainly in Malta and Afghanistan the story starts in Spain where the brother of an investigative journalist, Amelie Legarde, has been killed in a diving accident. Amelie does not believe it is an accident and through mutual friends asks Harry to help her. Diving on the wreck they are nearly killed in the same way, by a thin fishing net strung across the wreck – it does not look like it is there by accident. I won’t go into the story as this is where the links to the terrorist comes in, raising money to fund the acts of terrorism.

The story moves from Spain to terrorist atrocities in London and Paris along with unusual attacks on oil installations in Nigeria. It transpires that there is a district of Nigeria that wishes to break away from the main Country. It just happens that that district holds most of the oil reserves that Nigeria depends on. The attacks are not so much aimed at Nigeria as such but aimed at the governments of Britain, France and to an extent the USA. In Britain the country is preparing for a General Election and the incumbent PM is not in a very good place in the polls so the pressure is being placed on him to reach agreements with Nigeria for the breakaway to become fact. The terrorist stacks are all about ramping up political pressure and are organised by an Afghani called Malik. He is a man who has lost his whole family to attacks by western countries, so his hatred is aimed at them.

Trailing Malik to Malta our hero, Harry, who by this time has picked up a beautiful investigative journalist, observes him with a corrupt US businessman who is financing the Nigerian coup. Escaping an attempt to capture him, Malik flees to Afghanistan, his home territory, where the final terrorist attacks are organised, Harry is sent to Afghanistan by the British government, but as a private citizen so there is deniability. On his way there Harry contacts two former Gurkhas with much experience of Afghanistan and who had previously been under Harry’s command when still in the army. They make their way to Afghanistan to do one thing, take out Malik and this forms the final part of the book.

This is an easy to read thriller which thrills. OK, there are times when belief is a little stretched but then that happens in most novels. There are a couple of points about the book which stand out as just wrong or out of place to me. The General Election in the book has been called for a Monday, whereas all GEs in Britain are on Thursdays unless there are specific reasons. Also the book is written like a movie script with beautiful women not far from the action, both in bed and elsewhere, and spectacular scenery making for a tempting movie script. I think it could make a good film with the correct treatment. As a story it is worth a go.

The author is a former Gurkha office having spent 33 years with them retiring as a Major General. Along with the first novel featuring the character Harry Parker, Craig Lawrence has also written 2 Gurkha histories and a book on strategic leadership.

4 MRHs from me.

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