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The Dying Light

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  66 reviews

"England in the near future is eerily familiar. There are concerns over terrorism, the press is feisty, and the prime minister is soon to call a general election. But quietly - and largely unknown to the public or even most in government - things have become undeniably Orwellian. Cameras with license plate recognition software record every car's movements; a sophisticated

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Hardcover, 402 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Orion (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Sean Randall
"He killed himself, you know, and that leaves the average emotionally retarded Brit rather stuck for things to chat about at a funeral."

This book didn't grip me from the outset, rather it wormed its way into my thoughts at odd times. There's something quintessentially British about it - something of Le Carréor Deighton, and that compels me to carry on reading it without any of the clinging nature or dashing, headlong pace of a work by an American. the story is powerful and worryingly so and like
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Robert Starner
Kate Lockhart attends the coroner's inquiry into the death of her former lover and close friend David Eyam, which includes video footage of the explosion in Colombia that caused his death. Eyam, a former head of intelligence in the prime minister's goverment had mysteriously fallen from grace and left England amidst a burgeoning scandal. What follows is Lockhart's quest to solve the mystery of Eyam's death and clear his name. It is also a metticulously detailed tale of high powered government fi ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2010.

Henry Porter's fifth novel is intended, so the author tells us in the afterword, to fulfil three purposes. It is obviously a thriller readable as a standalone story, but is additionally intended as a contrast to his previous novel Brandenburg and as something of a political call to arms. It is set in a near future Britain, where high-powered lawyer (and former spy) Kate Lockhart returns to the country after several years working in the States
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Eldan Goldenberg
Aug 13, 2009 Eldan Goldenberg marked it as to-read
Shelves: wishlist
I just read a review of this book that makes it sound like a 21st Century update to 1984, with more account of how the road to tyranny is paved with good intentions, and perhaps some redeeming cracks in the dystopia.

http://www.economist.com/books/displa...
Trena
In this age of technology I think this book should be on everyone's reading list.
This book is a detailed modern version of 1984. I found it enlightening that the laws. are in place in the UK


Annie Walker
This book grew on me a little bit at a time. The characters are intriguing enough, but what really started to grab at me was the all too-familiar governmental structures/encroachment on privacy that pervades society now.

It truly was an eerie novel. I think the idea that fascinated me the most was the idea of how government courts (in this case- parliament, but could easily be congress or the Supreme Court) made massive decisions in the name of "caring for the people" without ever needing "the p
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Marie
A excellant political thriller. The main character is intelligent and competant and above all believable, a heroine without being super woman. Little lacking on fill out on supporting characters but the pace is quite high so you don't notice it until later. But this is not a thriller with guns and car chases, well actually there is a couple of murders and fast driving but that is not what gets your adrenalin up. The story is set in a very near future where anti terrorism and surviellance laws ar ...more
Teresa
Feb 11, 2012 Teresa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everybody who is concerned about privacy in the modern world
Shelves: 2012, library-book
Kate Lockhart returns to the UK from the USA to attend the funeral of her friend David Eyam. She finds she is the main beneficiary of his Will and has inherited a home, money and a cause to follow from him. This places her in danger and knowing who to trust is key to her success

This is not a horror story, it is not a forensic detective novel nor is it full of gristly details of death and murder scenes. But it is still one of the scariest, most disturbing novels I have read in a long, long time.
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Jen
Jul 30, 2011 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: china
Gripping thriller set in a Britain just a few years in the future. David Eyam has staged his own death in a supposed Colombia bombing. His former lover, Kate, flies home from the US where she works as a lawyer, to attend the coronial inquest and his funeral. There she meets a local group known as the Bell ringers, who were friends of David, who hint at plots within the government. She also reconnects with some University friends, who were friends of David, some of whom are now working for the go ...more
Mikejencostanzo
One of the associations I have with a fun week at the beach is a good mystery. One year it was Dorothy Sayers, another year, Dorothy Gilman. This year's beach read was an impulsive choice, veering slightly off-course into the political thriller genre. I was not disappointed.

The Bell Ringers, set in Britain, is how one man imagines a corrupt government could get away with collecting and ultimately misusing data about its citizens. We're talking drones, spy cameras on every corner, tapped phone li
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Speesh
It must be a little unusual when a book begins with the death of the main character and the book's driving force. In 'The Dying Light's case, David Eyam. A phenomenally intelligent man, not always easy to like or love, but certainly one of the leading brains of his, or many other, generations. A government advisor at the time of his death, he has uncovered a very worrying secret. A secret plan, directed from the very heart of government, with the help of those at the top of big business, to trac ...more
Tal
"England in the near future is eerily familiar. There are concerns over terrorism, the press is feisty, and the prime minister is soon to call a general election. But quietly - and largely unknown to the public or even most in government - things have become undeniably Orwellian. Cameras with license plate recognition software record every car's movements; a sophisticated top-secret data-mining system known as Deep Truth combs through personal records, identifying violators of minor laws as well ...more
Katy
This is one fantastic political thriller! It is as timely as today's news. It is about the growth of the "surveillance state" that has come to characterize western democracies in the past twenty years or so. From tracking cars with license plate scanners, to hacking personal e-mails, to identity theft, to CCTV in our cities, in our subways, at traffic intersections, in shopping malls to digital health records, municipal and national governments know a lot about us, and can easily learn more. Thi ...more
Larry
Porter's "The Bell Ringers" first appeared in Great Britain as "The Dying Light." His earlier "Brandenburg Gate" ended with the people of East Berlin streaming into the light (both literal and figurative) of West Berlin with the opening of the wall. This novel examines a turn toward darkness by a British government intent on strengthening the control of the state at the expense of traditional civil liberties. The mechanism used by that government is a combination of wholesale data mining and beh ...more
Sara
A highly intelligent, quiet and very frightening thriller.

England in the near future is rapidly approaching a total police state--all phone, internet and travel is monitored on every citizen, false terror plots are created by the prime minister to suspend all rights, and a small group of truth-tellers (The Bell Ringers) fights to restore democracy.

In an afterword, the author says that as of 2009, when he was concluding the writing, all of the laws highlighted in the novel already existed on the
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Christine
Kate Lockhart returns to England from America to mourn her friend and lover, David Eyam. She is shocked to discover that although estranged for years Eyam has bequeathed her everything … including a conspiracy theory that could bring down the current government. “Big Brother” is indeed watching.

Henry Porter brings Orwell’s 1984 into the 21st century and, if his afterward is to be believed (and why not?), much of this book is fact based. Although I found this book a little difficult to get into I
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Summers
Very good fiction, but very close to what can and is happening. How government slowly infringes on privacy and freedoms. Very well written. Would I be one who would risk everything to do what is right? or just let it happen?
Megan
This was an interesting book about the rights citizens have over privacy from the government. It is set in England and is an intriguing look at how technology can change the power schism in government. It was a little confusing listening to it in audio format as I kept confusing several of the secondary characters but all in all I liked it.
Katie
In my opinion this book was totally ruined by all its egregious typos. This usually doesn't bother me THAT much--I understand the financial limitations of publishing companies these days and the need to cut back on editing staff, but this book was truly ridiculous. It was clearly just a first draft that had not even been run through automated spellcheck. I laughed out loud when the author thanked his editor in the Acknowledgements, because there was clearly no editing done.

Anyway. If you really
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Hilary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dave
An excellent book by an author who never fails to please. I simply couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. It was an amazing read!

The concept of citizens trading freedom for safety is not restricted to Great Britain. It frequently seems as if this disease has infected the entire Western World... although here in Canada we seem to have been spared the worst of these excesses, there is no question that we heading in that direction.

As a political science teacher I just wish I had the budge
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Stanley
A remarkably prescient novel given it was written in 2009, long before the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013

It is set in a near future England and deals with the loss of civil liberties through the state's ability to bring together data on us from different government databases, emails, phone calls, number plate recognition systems et al, and highlights the very real worries for democracy contained in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004
(Copied from my review under the book's original title - The
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Frederick Bingham
I listened to this one. The narration by John Lee was excellent.

Set a few years in the future, this is the story of Kate Lockhart, who returns to England from several years in the US to find it transformed into a police state. Her old friend and lover has apparently been killed in a terrorist attack in Columbia.

It's a realistic depiction of where technology and current trends are taking us. It's gone much further in the UK than in the US, but still pretty scary.
Peter
This is a truly classic British style political novel with corrupt politicians, super-powerful organizations and slightly eccentric characters intent on preserving the best of Britain. The truly engaging part of this novel is that Porter uses only existing laws and regulations and technologies to paint a very scary portrait of a society on the edge of Orwellian Reality and it takes your breath away.
Joyce
Fascinating book about the ceding of our private lives to the State. Set in Britain in the not very distant future, it was published there as "The Dying Light".

Chilling. If you're concerned about loss of privacy you either should read this book, or avoid it like the plague for fear of being spooked.

Thanks to my friend, A, for rating it so highly that I knew I must read it!
Susan
Mar 10, 2010 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Absolutely!
Recommended to Susan by: Found on shelf
Published in the UK as Dying Light inAugust 2009.

An engrossing and thoughtful tale set in England of the near future. How much freedom will individuals surrender to the state to "feel safe, have food on the table and watch TV?" A political thriller of the highest order. By the author of Brandenburg Gate (2006).

Loved this and highly recommend it.
April
Nov 22, 2010 April rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to April by: Loraine Hawkins
A good book for a long plane ride. Interesting characters, and a ripping plot that grabs you and keeps your attention throughout. If you aren't already worried about the expanded powers of surveillance many governments have establihsed in the past few years, you will be after reading this.
Rossano
A classic. I could not put it down...! Henry Porter knows how to keep you focused and creates an spell-binding imagery not easily attained by many authors in his league. a must read for those that love the intrigue of spying and govermental projects that leave much to be desired....(sic)
Coki
Excellent British political thriller - fast paced but subtle, too-close-for-comfort techno trouble, and an integral part played by libraries and books. characters were a little overly intellectual to be well loved but it definitely made me think about the importance of civil liberties
Sarah
Enjoyable political suspense thriller fluff. The characters were all very much serving the plot (and little else), and the number of coincidences were rather incredible, but overall a decent work, and bringing up good questions about freedom vs. security, and government control.
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231814
Henry Porter has written for most national broadsheet newspapers. He contributes commentary and reportage to the Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph. He is the British editor of Vanity Fair, and lives in London with his wife and two daughters.
More about Henry Porter...
Brandenburg Gate A Spy's Life Empire State Remembrance Day The Dying Light

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