Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words
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“Fergus Bannon writes thrillers which take a jaded and heretical view of what we think we know of reality.”
“Dan Erlichmann, the son of a psychopath, is a man brutalized and alienated by his upbringing and by his experiences as an MI6 operative in Chile in the ‘70s. After his mission there fails, and the woman he loves is killed by military torturers, Erlichmann is reassigned to ‘turning’ Soviet Cold War scientists. Incidents in Hawaii and Prague produce a decade long vendetta between him and Lev Stepunin, a KGB security officer.
Then, in the present day, a disaster at a Russian research facility reveals catastrophic flaws in mankind’s understanding of reality. Erlichmann and Stepunin suddenly find themselves working together to ward off the possible extinction of the human race.”
Due to the violent manner in which he dispatches his foes, Dan is less James Bond and more triple X (Vin Diesel). The novel follows him through a forty year career as an MI6 operative.
The story has an explosive start in the present day, as Dan & his partner wipe out a conference room filled with preeminent physicists. Then we backtrack to Dan’s childhood and follow him through his training and a number of missions until we return to present day.
Technically, the writing is very good, certainly good enough to keep me reading to the end. But I never really connected with Dan. His character just didn’t strike me as believable. He seemed to execute his missions with little real danger of failure, and so the tension wasn’t ever raised enough to get my palms sweating, which, considering his exploits, they should have been.
I’ve always been interested in physics. That aspect of the story attracted me, but the “flaw” in quantum mechanical theory that Dan and his co-conspirators feared so much was never explained sufficiently for me to believe it as a motive for all the maiming and destruction.
On the face of it, this is a novel I should have enjoyed, but it just didn’t happen for this reader.
Rating: *** Three stars