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Rather Below Par
on 7 September 2013
Gerald Seymour is a well established author and this is not the first of his novels I have read. The plot seems promising enough. A defector from Iran insists that his wife is brought out if he is going to continue to cooperate with the British authorities. A motley collection of mercenaries together with a young student who has studied Iran and who speaks Farsi, set about accomplishing this and, unsurprisingly, things run far from smoothly or predictably.
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.