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"Ambiguous" or "Shaggy Dog"? You decide...
on 5 September 2008
I would never have even picked up this book under normal circumstances, but a friend recently found himself in a foreign hospital for a while, and from their very limited library of English-language books read this and recommended it to me on his return... and I'm frankly sorry he did, because this is really just a very (very!) long shaggy dog story (minor spoilers follow.)
"Torn from today's headlines" it may be, but this is a tale driven by coincidence and ridiculous character motivations (it's the first book I've read in a long while that uses the notion of "love at first sight" with no irony whatsoever to trigger a huge plot shift.)
I'd have been far more interested in a whole novel based on the efforts of the UK and US agents travelling the UK to identify the terrorist, but sadly this was sidelined into a minor subplot, which in the end didn't even impact on the main story. Seymour can clearly write, but the story structure (is he paid by the word?) and characterisations could have done with a lot of editing, and the annoyingly inconclusive ending (sequel-friendly as it is) compounds the bad impression... no more for me I'm afraid!