Top positive review
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Even better than its predecessor
on 21 November 2010
I gave Jeremy Duns's first novel five stars on Amazon and almost wish now I hadn't. Not because it didn't deserve them - Free Agent is brilliant - but because there's no way of rating his new novel more highly.
Free Agent achieved something unique in its opening chapter: it pulled off a devastating twist, the only time I've seen this done so early in a story. While the first chapter of Free Country doesn't try to match this, quite reasonably, it's no less effective, kicking off the action in a startling fashion. The pacing is terrific and is sustained throughout the novel, each chapter ending in such a way as to leave the reader wanting more. And there are of course twists, some of the most wrong-footing ones coming towards the end after you assume all has been revealed and that you're on the home stretch. The last surprise is conveyed in an image that's cinematic in its beauty and power, and reminded me of the climactic scenes of at least two seminal 1970s films.
Thrilling, complex, peopled with fascinating and plausible characters: Free Country triumphs on all counts. Paul Dark's was a world I didn't want to leave at the end, and that's really all you can ask of a novel. I can't recommend it highly enough, and can't wait for book three.