The Corporal's Wife Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013
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Those [Seymour] sends off into dangerous territory are, in fact, his readers. With each book, we enter a dangerous universe, and are totally involved with utterly plausible characters, faced with moral choices that are rarely straightforward . . . The single most important element here is the obsessive Winnie, whose pursuit of revenge for her dead agent is the motor for all that happens. Winnie is a forceful creation, with her burning resentment against those who feel contempt for the way the rest of us live. (Independent)
Once again demonstrating his ability to probe the moral murkiness of the spy trade and create an absorbingly diverse ensemble, Seymour crafts a sophisticated, reader-teasing tale. (The Sunday Times)
[Seymour's] books are rich in the drama of people reacting to events and situations they never could have expected. (Weekend Press, New Zealand)
Picking up a novel by Gerald Seymour is like taking a deep breath of fresh air . . . his subject here is the Middle East, presented with a vividness and veracity that makes most of his rivals look footling . . . As always with Seymour, the sense of a minatory foreign landscape is acutely rendered . . . never have the badlands of Iraq been evoked with such oppressive rigour. And how many other writers would have fleshed out the bomb-maker, who would simply represent "evil" in most thrillers? Seymour allows us into the life and consciousness of this man, movingly describing his marriage to a mortally ill woman. When readers get to the nailbiting climax, involving an agonising wait for airborne rescue, they may be wondering why they should bother with any other thriller writer. (Independent)
Seymour is a master of the thriller set on the murky edges of modern war . . . As ever he juggles action, context and suspense with a special-forces level of expertise. How long before he turns to Libya? (i)
Gerald Seymour is the grand-master of the contemporary thriller and Deniable Death is his greatest work yet. Gripping, revealing and meticulously researched, this is a page-turning masterpiece that will literally leave you breathless. (Major Chris Hunter, author of Extreme Risk)
After 28 novels, Seymour's empathy for those he ensnares in his moral minefields remains movingly even-handed. (Daily Telegraph)
gripping thriller (Sun)
Mr Seymour is . . . on form . . . The tradecraft of silent watching and the discomfort, thirst and increasing claustrophobia of the hideout are brought very much to life . . . the grim landscape of the border region and the harsh lives of its inhabitants are skilfully evoked (The Economist (Australia))
Seymour is not one to cut corners. He does his research, thinks hard about his story and gives us richly imagined novels that bristle with authenticity. (Washington Post on THE COLLABORATOR)
Seymour [is] incapable of creating a two-dimensional character' (The Times)
'Discerning thriller readers can safely say that the best practitioner currently working in the UK is the veteran Seymour. He is, quite simply, the most intelligent and accomplished in the current field . . . Here, we have a typically compromised Seymour anti-hero, a masterfully organised globe-spanning narrative and a mass of highly persuasive detail. The Dealer and the Dead is Seymour firing on all cylinders, and his rivals need, once again, to look to their laurels. (Barry Forshaw)
With Seymour, not only do you get a cracking story deftly told, but you also feel you are learning something. (Birmingham Press)
In a class of his own (The Times on THE WAITING TIME)
one of the modern masters of the craft (Daily Mail on THE COLLABORATOR)
A nail-biting thriller about a small British team of men sent into Iran to smuggle out a feisty, independent, beautiful young woman.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel is no exception.
Ostensibly, it is a story featuring the wife of a Iranian corporal who is lifted by the Brits from a honey trap and, once safely in Vienna, will only reveal more of his useful information if his wife can join him.
Which is where the story begins to unfold. The wife is not keen to join her husband but thanks to a young English language student pressganged into going to Tehran as an interpreter, she reluctantly agrees to go with the team sent to extract her.
It doesn't go to plan. MI6 plays its usual power struggle games, the Americans and the Israelis help out with the extraction at a cost and an Iranian brigadier (he whose driver is now in Vienna) goes on an individual hunt for the now missing corporal's wife, hoping to be ahead of the Reupulican Guards similarly tasked with finding her and the 'terrorists' who have taken her.
At the centre is really the bonding betwen the young interpreter and the wife and the lack of bonding between the pair and the three ex-soldiers travelling with them.
To reveal more would put the suspense of the story in doubt. The author brillianly captures the Iranian countryside, the characters popping in and out of the abduction and the do-or-die attitude of the soldiers on both sides, whilst the bickering goes on in London as to who takes responsibility for the diminishing returns from the corporal.
The Corporal's Wife brings home the strictures in Tehran thanks to the sanctions imposed and the gloom and doom of a country struggling to find an acceptable way into the modern world.
All-in-all, an excellent read.
The main story here is quite interesting. We learn about the young student who, rather ill advisedly, jumps at the chance of adventure whilst having a naive ignorance of the dangers involved. The defector's wife, Faradeh, is also a fascinating character who, apparently, cannot stand her husband and has had nothing to do with him for years whilst living under the same roof. Rather unconventional behaviour in Iran I would imagine and a little surprising that he wants anything further to do with her.
If one was to read the parts of this story which appertained to the basic plot it would be an absorbing and fast moving adventure in the main. Unfortunately this would only run to a couple of hundred pages. The rest, interspersed throughout the book, concerns, in the main, the cynical machinations of the various members of the intelligence community who have such unlikely nicknames as Aunty (male) and Father William. Every time the main story seems to really get into gear we have these interruptions which are, frankly, not very interesting and just ruin the flow of the plot.
Worst of all, having shown themselves to be uncaring, manipulative and unprincipled, the ending of the story depends on these people acting completely out of character in an action which they take. I was fast losing patience in any case, but this really put the seal on things for me. Gerald Seymour is a capable author who can narrate a good story. This is not one of them in my opinion.
Seymour's style is to take a relatively basic storyline and intertwine the social interaction between the characters and get a feel for their personalities. This worked well in Holding the Zero (two snipers), but I found it lacking in The Outsiders. For me, this book takes that even further with weak, unbelievable characters and not enough to keep the reader interested despite the potential for a really good story.
The story is all about a defector from Iran (having been caught in a brothel) who is a potential superstar in terms of the secrets he can reveal. Once the debrief is underway, he refuses to reveal any more until his wife is extracted from Iran (despite the fact that she no longer cares from him at all). With such a ludicrous storyline no self-respecting armed forces would want to be involved, so private contractors and a student drop-out are brought in to do the job.
The problem here is that I was enjoying the main storyline rather than the sub-plot which is all about how the foot soldiers will have one perspective on the world, the interrogators another, the handlers another, and the decision makers back at base something altogether different. That part of the book is actually rather boring in my opinion, with characters who are easy to mix up with their odd nicknames, and just doesn't make enough of a storyline.
I only gave it two stars as I kept hoping there would be something more... the storyline had the potential to be a Frederick Forsyth masterpiece - sadly it wasn't.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thrilling till the end. Not the ending I expected, not unusual with Gerald Seymour. Thought provoking in the way it challenges morals and standards in situations of extreme... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Shepherds delight
I've enjoyed Seymour's books over the years (I especially liked Archangel) and since it's been ages since I read him, I picked up the Corporal's Wife. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Caroline Carver
Bought as present for husband - one of his favorite authors. Did not disappoint.Published 3 months ago by wood833
A good read, Seymour never disappoints, not one of his best. Hard to follow at times. Still a committed Seymour fan.Published 8 months ago by Jeff Aston