Sunday, 13 February 2011

All NF and no F makes Lucinda a Dull Girl

Well, I'm poised to move onto the Science
shelf at Mr B's and have a fascinating title
lined up: Michael Brooks' 13 Things That
Don't Make Sense. Before I dive into that
mind-bending treat, I thought I'd pen a
few thoughts on my final 'holiday read'.
Everyone in the shop raves about spy
master Eric Ambler and has their own
favourite - but Uncommon Danger is
the one title none of us has read yet,
so I thought I'd give it a go.

Uncommon Danger features a stock
Ambler premise: an ordinary man finds
himself embroiled in the world of
espionage - this time, it's a journalist,
Kenton. His quick descent into the shadowy
underworld of spies is totally convincing and the pace of the unfolding drama is relentless. There are kidnappings, shootouts, bond-style death evasion and a tentative love interest who is
anything but token. The language occasionally reminds you that this was written in the 1930's and there are a couple of fantastical lucky breaks needed to move the plot on, but I'm happy to roll with this - plus, the premise that big business can occasionally dictate global politics remains disturbingly relevant. Kenton's constant reappraisal of himself, his principles and his capabilities is one of the most succinct pieces of character development I've read in ages. Plus, Ambler is pinpoint accurate with his descriptions which keeps the whole thing super-pacey. When we are told in the prologue that 'Mr Baltergehen twisted his lips slightly. It was his way of smiling,' in one line we know all we need to know. What a treat!

1 comment:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Bond-style novel would always be exciting.