The Dealer and the Dead Hardcover – 8 Jul 2010
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In a Croatian village near Vukovar, a body is unearthed in a field – that of an arms dealer. Nearly twenty years earlier, a betrayal had taken place, involving the dead man: the besieged villagers had been desperately waiting for an arms shipment that never arrived -- arms that would have given them a chance against the Serbs moving against them. But there was no delivery, and the village fell. The philosophy of the villagers is that revenge is a dish best served cold, and now knowing the identity of the person who betrayed them, they draw plans for payback. In England, arms dealer Harvey Gillott is about to be drawn into a dangerous situation – and he will find that the past has a very long reach.
This is the intriguing premise of The Dealer and the Dead, and it will prompt the customary noises of admiration for its author, Gerald Seymour. Enthusiasts often make extravagant claims for their favourite authors, but 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, and even his misfires (of which there aren’t many) are more interesting than most of the competition. Here, we have a typically compromised Seymour anti-hero, a masterfully organised globe-spanning narrative and a mass of highly persuasive detail. When so many novelists are content with shop-worn plots, Seymour always manages to create fresh and original protagonists, and weaves for them situations that are unlike anything he (or his peers) has come up with before. The Dealer and the Dead is Seymour firing on all cylinders, and his rivals need, once again, to look to their laurels. --Barry Forshaw
Seymour [is] incapable of creating a two-dimensional character . . . The ending is brilliantly orchestrated. (The Times)
Crisp, taut and contemporary, by a stylish writer. (Rachel Redford, the Observer)
'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 gold, but you also feel you are learning something. (Birmingham Press)
[Seymour's latest story] doesn't disappoint (Oxford Mail)
The final scenes are brilliantly orchestrated by Seymour, the sustained tension becoming almost unbearable . . . Without doubt, The Dealer and the Dead is one of the finest thrillers to be published so far this year. (Yorkshire Evening Post)
[Seymour's] meticulous research shines through in his latest thriller. (Oxford Times)
riveting stuff (Manly Daily)
'In a day when shop-worn plots in the disguise of well-written books are doing the rounds, The Dealer and the Dead comes as a refreshing, breathtaking story that keeps you gripped right till the very end. (Indian Express)
The Dealer and the Dead displays his usual ability to concoct a tightly controlled plot that is cleverly engineered . . . steadily crafted into a compelling tale . . . Another first-class thriller from the always reliable Seymour. (Canberra Times)
A tense thriller. (Choice)
In a class of his own (The Times on THE WAITING TIME)
A dense, intensely satisfying thriller from one of the modern masters of the craft, Seymour's latest novel will remind the world just how phenomenally accomplished a thriller writer he is. (Daily Mail on THE COLLABORATOR)
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Top Customer Reviews
The set-up is deftly handled if a little drawn-out. There are certainly quite a few threads to interweave, present day and historical, with quite a number of characters, and the author does well from keep them from getting too complicated, but it's at the cost of concision. It takes rather a long time to establish what is in reality a simple situation - a small village in Croatia has put out a contract on Harvey Gillot, an international arms dealer who let them down - no, make that betrayed them - eighteen years ago by failing to deliver an arms consignment that they had paid for and which they needed to defend their village.
Clearly, considering the nature of the characters and the subject matter, The Dealer and The Dead is not light reading. The opening in particular is dark and serious - almost too intense and bleak in its depiction of war crimes, grim discoveries of unmarked mass graves, the contemplation of suicide by survivors - and then there's the activity of a hit-man and an arms dealer who don't really have a lot of time for anything like a conscience.Read more ›
Yet the lead-up to the final denouement, the scenes in England promised much...
This is probably the one Seymour book I would not read again and again. And I do hope he has another books in him.
His style never changes,a complex cast of well drawn characters that are only given dialogue when absolutely nescessary, a narrative that is rich and detailed,locations that are brought vividly to life and,as always with Seymour,the moral ambiguity of the characters' situation.
Harvey Gillott, arms trader, living a secluded life on the isle of Portland, Dorset, finds that a deal he welched on,to provide arms to a village defending a Serbian onslaught in 1991, catches up with him when his name is revealed after a long buried body is ploughed up on a field near the village.The village doesn't forgive and forget. A contract is placed on Gillott that leads to a London hitman being given the job of tracking and killing Gillott.
This is Seymour's 27th novel and there are one or two echoes of previous stories, notably 'The Heart of Danger' and 'A line in the Sand'.But this does not deflect from the originality of the story. What makes his books work so well is the detail he brings to the many complex situations his characters occupy.
Last year Seymour wrote a novel about the Cammora clans in Naples.Within a year, this 458 page book hits the shelves.
Seymour is the best in the business and has been for some time.
All his books follow a common theme. In the first 50 pages or so one is introduced to a sometimes bewildering panoply of characters with no obvious relationship to one another. But as the plot unfolds the relationships emerge and clarify. There is always a "bad guy(s)" of course, though this character(s) is by no means the personification of evil as much as a victim of the time he/she lives in and the events that surround his/her life. The same is true of the main protagonists (there is usually more than one in each story). Typically, one of these new-found heroes rises from the depths of a life of cowardice, betrayal, indifference, or some other shameful attitude or behavior that seeks salvation in extraordinary acts of selflessness.
This being said, Seymour is a marvelous writer. His plots are impeccably taut and his prose and writing style are unique. If you are reading this review and have not heard of his work, take my advice and start reading him. But don't bury yourself in his 20 odd stories in an orgy -- as I have done. Pace yourself. Read one or two a year and hope that both you and he remain alive long enough for you to continue to marvel at his style, his moral messages and his cleverly chosen themes (repetitive though they may be), for a long time. The Dealer and the Dead is no exception.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent quality and excellent delivery. Have read this book once but enjoyed it so much will read again. Gerald Seymour is a wonderful writer always enjoy his books.Published 1 month ago by sleepyhead
Good story spoilt by over elaborating descriptions which, in my opinion, is to make the book bigger.Published 7 months ago by Mr. D. R. Macdonald
Brilliant story from a master of his genre. Nothing overstated, nothing underplayed and with stunningly constructed dialogues for the varied and complex characters. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Intrepid
Gerald Seymour at his best, this is another great read from one of my favourite authors.Published 9 months ago by Max