2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An easy read but not Sam Bourne's best work,
This review is from: Pantheon (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've read and enjoyed Sam Bourne's earlier thrillers and I don't think this one quite lives up to my expectations. Set during the Second World War in Oxford and in the USA (Yale and Washington), the novel tells the story of James Zennor, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, who returns home from a morning rowing to find that his wife and small child have disappeared. It soon emerges that his wife has not simply left him, but that her departure is part of some wider conspiracy over the issue of eugenics. Zennor (who, we are constantly reminded has anger management issues!), searches desperately for them, first in Oxford, then across the Atlantic. This is an easy and interesting read, but I felt that the plot itself was a bit insubstantial. The baddies felt a bit caricatured and too much of the writing was reminding the reader repeatedly about Britain's vulnerability to German attack in 1940. It felt to me as if too much of the action was actually inside Zennor's head, with his rage and his concerns about the war. This is a passable read with some interesting wartime background about the genetics debate which raged on both left and right of the political spectrum, but somehow, it felt to me like it was less than the sum of its parts.