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The Dying Light Hardcover – 6 Aug 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Edition edition (6 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752874845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752874845
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.5 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Major new thriller by the campaigning British journalist about today's Britain as a police state. Porter is adept at spinning a credible yarn and the book could well prove highly controversial (THE BOOKSELLER)

Former spook Kate Lockhart is enraged by the violent death of her old lover, David Eyam, head of British Intelligence. Even more chilling is the legacy he leaves behind which is set to spin the UK into a police state (Henry Sutton DAILY MIRROR)

In Henry Porter's exciting, timely and frightening story, a single brave, prescient individual eventually outwits megalomaniac officialdom. This book is primarily a can't-put-it-down , rattling good yarn but it's also a deadly serious and truly awful warning (Jessica Mann LITERARY REVIEW)

A daring, stylish and tensely paced thriller that brilliantly imagines the consequences for Joe Public should some of the government's suggested security proposals become law (METRO)

Worthwhile and gripping conspiracy thriller (MORNING STAR)

Henry Porter's latest conspiracy thriller is neatly designed, elegantly written and, politically, a little subversive' ...The theme and plot do, however, meet in one particularly satisfying set piece that demonstrates the value of having a good defence lawyer, one of the several moments that places The Dying Light among the higher ranks of its genre (Robert Murphy METRO)

For those who like political thrillers, this is one of the season's best: scary, informative and, alas, eminently believable (ECONOMIST)

He is widely recognised now as a real master of the literary espionage thriller, a true sucessor to le Carre (PRESS GAZETTE)

'You'll love this brilliantly tense novel' - Five Stars (HEAT)

If you're looking for a holiday read which will leave you gasping for breath then this one would take some beating (THE BOOKBAG)

The Dying Light bowls along at a cracking pace with more twists and turns than a street map of Venice (INDEPENDENT)

Porter rails against that very British apathy which has already allowed the state to pass all the legislation necessary to turn his dystopian nightmare into reality - the same apathy, ironically, which makes such nakedly polemical British novels so rare, and welcome (Jeremy Jehu DAILY TELEGRAPH)

A gripping and thought-provoking thriller (CHOICE)

In the Dying Light, he has created a fearsome vision of how existing legislation - particularly the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 - could be used by a paranoiac government intent on total control... a timely cautionary tale (NEW STATESMAN)

the book is a salutary warning of what happens when big business and politics end up in bed together. I'm sure some with think Porter to be paranoid. The rest of us will feel it's terrifyingly plausible (REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE.COM)

A tense, intelligent conspiracy thriller set in a horribly plausible future-present Britain where surveillance is so pervasive that it's impossible to do anything unobserved (John O'Connell THE GUARDIAN)

Porter has all the talents of a good thriller writer, particularly strong, crisp characterisation and the ability seamlessly to blend action and expertise. What really stands out in this novel, though, is the grimly plausible glimpse he gives us of a future that is already creeping up on us: a United Kingdom where elements of government and corporate interests are combining to monitor and ultimately control the lives of the country's citizens (SPECTATOR)

The Dying Light offers pleasures on every page, from descriptions of the English countryside and several alluring characters, to the puzzles Eyam set; from the outrage generated by politicians' monstrosities to the sly neatness of his analysis of their activities (Natasha Cooper TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

a compelling and engaging tale of intrigue set in the near future (Michael Mansfield THE OBSERVER)

Disturbingly chilling (NEW BOOKS)

a vibrant thriller deadling with some of the great concerns of his journalistic career: the surveillance state and the erosion of individual liberty. Although set in the future, it feels as up-to-the-minute as tomorrow's headlines (NEW STATESMAN)

a skilfully concocted political thriller that is elegantly written and eminently believable in its portayal of political malfeasance (DEADLY PLEASURES)

a compelling thriller which at the same time is a persuasive polemic about the threat to civil liberties in the United Kingdom (LITERARY REVIEW)

Henry Porter was in Orwellian mood with The Dying LIght, his vision of the locked-down, near-future Britain (Christmas Books DAILY TELEGRAPH)

If the best thrillers should disrupt all sense of cosy complacency, Henry Porter's The Dying Light made just emerging from under the duvet seem a risky prospect. The author and Observer political commentator has woven an upsetting truth into his fiercely intelligent tale of a near-future, police-state Britain - all the legislation necessary to create the "technological totalitarianism" he depicts is already in place (Claire Allfree METRO)

What sets The Dying Light apart from other thrillers is that it is very well written, and Porter asks two very important questions: are we allowing the building of the most advanced system of surveillance ever seen because we are so sure of our democratic values, and our respect for free speech and legality, or is this attitude potentially fatal?... An excellent Christmas present for the imaginative liberal (Wendy Kyrle-Pope LIBERATOR)

This is a novel of ideas, but it has all the best features of espionage fiction (DEADLY PLEASURES)

Book Description

One of the most important books of 2009. Henry Porter's new novel paints a chilling portrait of the police-state that the UK is about to become...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By N. Smith on 29 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
Henry Porter has written one of the best thrillers I've ever read. The Dying Light is set in Britain in the near future, where the tentacles of the surveillance state have been extending their reach throughout society. Our rulers are driven by misguided paternalism; their sense of right and wrong has been subverted by the inevitably corrupting influence of unaccountable power.

The heroine, Kate Lockhart, is thrown into a dangerous attempt to uncover the rotteness of the government after her estranged best friend is killed in a bomb blast and puts her unwillingly in the centre of a last-ditch effort to save British democracy.

The best thing about this book is Mr Porter's characterisation: he vividly describes all the actors in the drama. He introduces us to an unlikely band of heroes and villains, and people sitting uneasily inbetween. All the characters have human doubts and fears, but those on the good side also burn brightly with a deeply human longing to live freely and make their own decisions about their own lives. They retain a moral compass that the government lost long ago thanks to the death of ideology and to the cult of managerialism and centralisation.

Though it would be wrong to expose the twists and surprises in the plot (of which there are enough to make the book almost impossible to put down!), it is worth stressing - as Mr Porter does in his Afterword - that all the laws used and abused by his fictional government are already on the statute book. So on one level this book is a frightening and thought-provoking exposé of a country that has sleep-walked into putting too much trust to politicians and civil servants who rarely reciprocate by trusting the people to get on with their own lives without nannying or worse.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Faux on 28 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have read all Henry Porter's books and this is without doubt his best, an absolutely outstanding story, well-paced with excellent characters and, central to it, a salutary warning of the direction the government of modern Britain is inexorably moving.

What is particularly authentic is that his depiction of a near-future Britain. He illustrates the clear risks of the kind of system that is purported in the novel, when this is allied to ministerial and government agency incompetence, to frightening effect. Porter never actually reveals exactly what year the story is set in, except that it is after the 2012 London Olympics and this fact strikes a potent tone in itself, given much of the legislation already exists. The novel creates one of the most telling "wake-up calls" I've ever read.

There's a definite Orwellian theme, if you will excuse the clichéd reference, and his portrayal of this type of Britain has a telling and authentic resonance to it; you could almost classify this as a parable that the pursuit of absolute power, and absolute control, corrupts absolutely, without those doing so even being truly aware of this and seeing what they are doing as being inherently "good" and deciding on the best interests of the populace.

This novel may prove controversial to some, but it shouldn't; for others, it represents a true warning, as many of the points Porter makes in his narrative and in his afterword are extremely thought-provoking, yet the story and the reading of it is absolutely compelling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By freedomrulesok on 9 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
I thought Porter's previous novel, Brandenburg, was a great thriller, dealing with the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago. In that the East German secret police and government kept a close watch on their supposed 'enemies'.

In the Dying Light Porter has written another clever tale, but as he says with a similar subject line, government surveillance, only this time its Britain in the near future.

And the clever thing about it is, it all sounds so plausible and innocent... and in fact some of it is even true.

Nothing too racy or raucous, yet written with a good pace, shortish chapters with a few hooks, and plenty to keep you guessing as to how it will turn out.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Morphybum on 5 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us who have grown to feel less secure over the last ten years, this is almost to be welcomed. It will make you feel as though you are not alone. The sheer weight of the government's surveillance apparatus, the plethora of laws (all laws being reductive of freedom - that is axiomatic) that we have been burdened with, the wearying robotic seriousness with which our tiniest misdemeanours are dealt, the draconian powers of the health and Safety mob - all these things ought to make us concerned about the future. This book is a thriller but it is also a deadly serious warning. It is fuelled by a sure grasp of character and motive and - dare i say it - a love of England.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Maurice Hill on 22 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author's aim is admirable. The style is good and the action interesting, though there are some improbabilities. What is best is the exposure of the dangers of our present increasingly secretive, insidious society, watching, recording, stop-and-searching, bugging, and intruding into the everyday lives of the citizens of our country. The excuse is reasonable: we must protect ourselves from terrorists and the enemy within. Also, cctv, for example, is very useful in detecting and preventing crime. But power grows by what it feeds on. Scores of new acts limiting the people's freedom have come into force in the last twenty years. That is not to mention the secret machinations of the controllers. What we must most fear is what we don't know.

Paradoxically, the snag with this gloom-casting novel is its optimism. Despite the newly invented surveillance machines, the all-over telephone recordings, the accurate pin-pointing of where everyone is, our heroes and about a thousand of their supporters evade supervision and walk through police and military barriers as if by magic. Politicians wary of the new developments continue to function at Westminster even after they have been exposed. Suspected dissidents are listed, their life histories recorded down to the last pimple, their photographs distributed, but they walk through. In reality, the power mongers, if they finally take over, will not be so gentle, will not stop for a chat, will not reject torture and prison camps, as we already know. George Orwell's 1984 is referred to in this book, and that is surely a more realistic view of a dark future. Not a happy ending. But if The Dying Light is a call for us all to be more aware of the bad things that happen around us, it is welcome. And not a bad read!
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