Escape and Evasion Paperback – 3 May 2018
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Praise for Wakling's debut novel, The Immortal Part:
'One of the year's key debuts. Subtle and intense, it sucks you in like a dream and holds you
like a nightmare.' Lee Child
'An accomplished and page-turning thriller.' The Guardian
Praise for The Devil's Mask:
'The Devil's Mask is that rare thing: a book that is not only page-turning
but also beautifully crafted.' Jane Harris
'A fascinating, morally complex tale of greed and murder.' Sunday Times, Books of the Year, Guardian
A ferociously smart, high-octane thriller about a rogue banker who plays Robin Hood and then runs for his life. Joseph Ashcroft is mad as hell and not going to take it any more and Escape and Evasion reads like a Network for the Bitcoin era. A big-hearted book about the rage for revenge, the bonds of friendship and the eternal pull of home., Tony Parsons
A brilliant, gripping and important take on masculinity and responsibility, ingeniously plotted and beautifully written. I couldn't put it down, totally sucked into Joseph's downward spiral., Erin Kelly
Christopher Wakling has done it again. Escape and Evasion is both page-turning and heart-warming, with touches of comedy, a characterful narrative voice and a brilliant final twist., Jane Harris
The story of a bank heist, a break-up and a break-down, it's funny, tense, moving and wise - like a cross between Falling Down and Rogue Male, but much better than both., Tobias Jones
Loved the framing urgency, and the kindness, and the sad sweet theme of running away but circling home. A thriller but also a thoughtful book about masculinity., James McConnachie
Compelling, disturbing, profoundly moving. The real sense of jeopardy is that dangerous character we can never escape from: the self., Jake Arnott
Compelling from the start - a thrilling story about a disappearance and a deeper one about courage and morality, fear and love., Jane Shemlit
I was expecting a pure thriller, but this was something else. . . Not only a great read but a fascinating exploration of different manifestations of masculinity, racked with tension and sprinkled with humour., Ros Barber
'It's incredibly well written; funny and poignant, deals with some dark issues and races along at a pace that can be quite breathtaking at times. . . There's humour, and sadness and tension that absolutely grips the reader throughout.', RandomThingsThroughMyLetterbox
About the Author
Christopher Wakling is a novelist and travel writer whose previous books include On Cape Three Points, The Undertow and Towards the Sun.
Born in 1970, he was educated at Oxford, and has worked as a teacher and lawyer. He lives in Bristol with his wife and children.
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In Household's book, the iconoclastic protagonist is a moneyed aristocrat; at the pinnacle of society but also without society, refusing to conform. Wakling's updated 21st century version is the uber-rich investment banker, constrained by the law, but no less inclined to follow the rules.
Both books deal with the effects on the human psyche of stripping away comfort and replacing it with forced privation; what it means to live an animal existence. Both pose a question; a conundrum: Is it morally acceptable to commit a serious crime in the service of the greater good? In Household's case, murder, in Wakling's embezzlement to service the needs of the poor.
In Household's book, the hero was never beset with any shred of self-doubt. He had certainty and as the context of ROGUE MALE was a country on the brink of war, by the time the book came out, righteousness was firmly on his side.
ESCAPE AND EVASION is more nuanced and the better for it. A cod psychologist could have a field day here. Wakling is a former City worker himself (lawyer in his case according to his bio) and like his protagonist, he too studied English at Oxbridge once upon a time. If he has lent himself to the book, no doubt that was born out of necessity. For at the heart of the story is that most personal of emotions, guilt. The book could so easily have descended into moralising, but it is hugely to his credit that Wakling avoids black and white stereotyping. There is no pulpit, but some serious questions are asked and asked well.
ESCAPE AND EVASION has a rollicking pace and I greatly enjoyed the story. The prose is spare; splashes of colour and lots of flair. I particularly liked the way it harked back to Wakling's previous book, WHAT I DID. The latter, a story told through the eyes of a child, mangles the English language with deliberate malapropisms to touching effect as miscommunication and misunderstanding was at its core. In this book, the erroneous word selections spring from a suspected illness and lend the book pathos; yet at the end, I found that the book managed to be uplifting. You can't really ask for more. It's a delight. Highly recommended. First class.