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Vagabond Hardcover – 17 Jul 2014

65 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition edition (17 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444758594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444758597
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gerald Seymour was a reporter at ITN for fifteen years, where his first assignment was covering the Great Train Robbery in 1963. He later covered events in Vietnam, Borneo, Aden, the Munich Olympics, Israel and Northern Ireland.

Seymour's first novel was the acclaimed thriller Harry's Game, set in Belfast, which became an instant bestseller and later a television series. Six of Seymour's thrillers have now been filmed for television in the UK and US.

Gerald Seymour has been a full-time writer since 1978. The Dealer and the Dead is his twenty-seventh novel.

Product Description

Review

Gerald Seymour produces the most intelligent writing in the thriller genre . . . VAGABOND bristles with the skill he has developed over the years. Danny is a classic Seymour protagonist, and the tension here is conjured with authority. (Financial Times)

Back on the turf that launched his successful thriller-writing career with Harry's Game, Gerald Seymour has lost none of his instincts for gripping plots, fine characterisation and a great sense of time and place. (Choice)

Seymour's multistranded narrative of dark deeds and black ops is fuelled by an exhilarating cynicism. Here the ambitiously self-serving prosper and the virtues of loyalty, friendship and patriotism are exploitable weaknesses . . . Seymour tends to be overshadowed by John le Carre as one of the great British post-cold war novelists, but VAGABOND confirms that he deserves to be seated at the top table. (Irish Times)

A tale of intrigue and subterfuge which feels like it is set to explode on a slow-burning fuse. Characters are intricately constructed and the plot unravels only when all the pieces are in place to guarantee a nail-biting climax. A story of moral ambiguity without a moment's break in the rising tension, VAGABOND will appeal to newcomers to Seymour's novels and long-time fans alike. (Weekend Bookworm)

Book Description

Who can you trust, when betrayal is a way of life?

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Utley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Seymour is talented. But he needs to try to keep his feet on the ground.

This is a silly story. We are required to believe all sorts of complete nonsense. I must try to explain.

Danny Curnow was in the British army during the troubles in Northern Ireland. He was a sergeant. He ran agents (meaning he was responsible for looking after Catholics who were prepared to snitch on the IRA). As far as one can gather, he was a disaster at that job. All his agents ended up dead. But, for some unaccountable reason, he was thought to be the best. Then he walked out. He deserted. The army didn't mind about that. No one tried to catch him and prosecute him. He just wandered off to France and took up taking tourists round war graves.

A few decades pass. The Good Friday Agreement has led to most IRA members joining the establishment. But a few of them hold out. They want to go on bombing and killing. But they are short of arms. They need to get guns, grenades, missiles etc. A man who has made them money by smuggling cigarettes into Ireland says he can get them the arms they need. Unknown to them, he is an MI5 agent. Someone is needed to "run" him. A top chap at MI5 decides that the obvious choice is Danny Curnow, the sergeant who deserted about thirty years earlier having built up a reputation for getting all his agents killed. Curnow, despite having hated everything so much that he deserted, immediately agrees to help. And it gets even more incredible as the story continues (I shan't reveal more of it in case anyone wants to read it).

It is sad that Seymour, whose first novel, Harry's Game, was set in Northern Ireland and was brilliant, has descended as low as this. But I suppose we are now in what one might call the "post-Dan-Brown-age".
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Why would Gerald Seymour want to go back now to the setting of his first major success as a writer, Harry's Game? Things are very different in Northern Ireland in the years since the beginning of the peace-process. It's not like it was in the past. This however is precisely what Vagabond is about, and it's cleverly set-up in the opening prologue, which takes a terrorist incident back in the bad old days in Co. Tyrone and looks at it through fresh, more politically accountable eyes. Things have changed, but not necessarily for the better, particularly when those issues now have to considered in a wider global, political and commercial context.

For Seymour, it's a good opportunity to consider the relative morality of how we view military, terrorist and counter-terrorist actions then and now (specifically in the handling of agents, informers or 'touts' as they are better known), but typically, Seymour is now able to take a wider perspective that recognises that there are vast global implications and repercussions to freedom fighting and arms dealing. Business interests, political interests and personal interests that expose human weaknesses, motivations and behaviours, all have a major part to play in the reality on the ground, and Seymour is at his best here blending them all together towards a typically explosive and confrontational finale.

The old-school motivation of revenge is, not unexpectedly, the driving force that brings events past and present to such a conclusion. 'Desperate' Daniel Curnow, a former agent-handler in N. Ireland known as Vagabond, is brought out of self-imposed retirement by MI5 to oversee an arms deal going down in Prague.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Edwards on 29 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Gerald Seymour's books about The Troubles so I was looking forward to this one. I am relieved to read many other comments here which say that it is a bit difficult to follow. I cannot concentrate enough and it seems that I am always missing bits and pieces of it. Yes, sometimes I have to re-read some of the pages in order to understand what's going on. I wouldn't say this is one of his best books. I read the other three and couldn't put them down. With this one, there are too many characters involved which make the plot even more complicated. Hope the next one about The Troubles is more gripping
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have read every one of Seymour's novels and have enjoyed them all. Some however stand out more than others and Vagabond is one of these. Seymour typically focuses on "old school" members of the security services who are either at the end of their careers or have just retired. A special job needs to be done which lacks the fashionable appeal to interest younger or more mainstream agents, and so the service gives it to those with a history going back to the Cold War or to the days of the IRA conflcts.

In Vagabond we meet Daniel Curnow, who now spends his time in retirement ferrying groups of WW2 tourists around the battlefields and landing beaches of Normandy. Daniel was a successful MI5 operative in Northern Ireland in the days of the Troubles, and memories of his time in the service refuse to let him rest in peace in France.

Back in London, a new threat is emerging. Groups of Irish nationalists are refusing to accept the new settlement in which members of the IRA are now in government, making compromises with the British in order to have a comfortable life themselves and to achieve a phony peace. One such, Malachy Riordan, has been training young men in terrorist skills and has now made contact with a small-time cigarette smuggler (and part time agent) called Ralph Exton who is able to obtain weapons from a retired and embittered Russian officer who is now based in the Czech Republic.

The old guard in MI5 decide to order Daniel Curnow back from retirement to put a stop to the arms exchange, placing him under the command of a rookie female MI5 officer, thus setting the scene for another great Seymour adventure as Curnow travels to Prague to intercept the weapons deal.
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