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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ripping good read, 31 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Poison Tide (Hardcover)
From the opening chapters in a ruthless 1914 Germany determined to use biological warfare against its unsuspecting enemies, to the denouement of this thriller on the other side of the Atlantic, Poison Tide has the reader well and truly hooked. When it comes to taking historical characters and events and turning them into riveting fiction, Andrew Williams has few equals. First there was First Officer Lieutenant Douglas Lindsay who prises valuable secrets from a German U-boat commander in The Interrogator The Interrogator- with a cameo from Ian Flemming no less - followed by Dr Fredrick Hadfield and some spirited female assassins in To Kill a TsarTo Kill a Tsar. With British spy Sebastian Wolff in Poison Tide, Williams has created his best incarnation yet. While Wolff adopts many guises and personas in his mission to thwart his enemies he never loses the essence of being human. Unlike many action spy heroes who kill and move on, Wolff is troubled by those who die, even those not by his own hand, his prickled conscience a constant source of discomfort.

Nothing and no-one is black and white and this is particularly true when it comes to fighting for a cause, particularly for one's country, a theme that is central to this gripping story. This is particularly true of Sir Roger Casement the Irishman whose passion for Irish Home Rule leads him into an ill-advised deal with the Germans. The ambiguity of Wolff's relationship with Casement, who he ends up admiring despite Casement having been declared a traitor, also reinforces Wolff's human side and gives the story another unexpected dimension.

Likewise, Wolff's opponents are much more than cardboard cut-out baddies, they are highly complex people who despite their heinous acts often demand the respect and sometimes sympathy of the reader. For instance the intelligent but cold aristocratic spymaster Count Nadolny who is always two steps ahead of everyone else and Dilger the misguided and ultimately weak German/American doctor who sacrifices his medical ethics to support his country's war efforts.

Prepare to burn the midnight oil with this page-turner which draws you into the murky world of espionage so effectively you will feel the chilly dockyard mist clinging to your clothes and imagine figures in trenchcoats and fedoras lurking in the shadows for weeks to come.
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