Review provided by Black Lagoon Reviews
is the masterful debut novel by former MI6 field officer Matthew Dunn, a captivating and thrilling work that grips you from the very first page to the very last. Filled with never ending action and suspense, this is one novel that is extremely hard to put down and will keep you up late in to the night eager to learn what happens next to this harrowing and extremely human new action figure. Fans of James Bond will be thrilled with this new figure in the spy world bringing the genre neatly into the new century. Definitely one that will keep you riveted to your seat buckled in for a roller coaster of unending suspense and international intrigue.
It easy to see that Dunn knows his way around the Intelligence community as this novel is built in a wholly believable and intense way that is instantly visceral creating a hero and situation that is immediate and hits close to home. There are a lot of wonderful details both in the world in which the character moves and in the amount of insight in to the fray creating gripping action scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat. Honestly, the action read more like something out of a movie and you could see every bullet fly, see every move and feel every punch and jab that lands on our hero, Will Cochran. But, it is also the insight into how Will moves around within the world, setting up his missions and the way he thinks. It's very precise casting the world in a very crisp way where no detail is too small to be overlooked. This makes for an interesting atmosphere in which even the temperature of his surroundings becomes a living thing, something that reader innately experiences along with him.
Will himself is a wonderfully human, flawed and endearing character. He is definitely something of a sympathetic man with a lot of past hurt in his life and every experience he recounts in his past is insightful in to how he became the Spartan, a special designation by MI6 given to only the most hardy agents capable of surviving the intensive training, a codename that can only to be held by one agent until his death. But, I loved how his character isn't the suave static and stale stereotype that always comes out on top. Instead, he suffers a lot of set backs, constantly coming out on the bottoms of fights and is somehow always one step behind the monster that he is pursuing. You really come to root for him, hoping that he can finally catch the man he is chasing and claim a life in which he no longer has to be the cold, unfeeling Agent who lives only for vengeance and death. And along for the ride is a group of CIA paramilitary men who will help him in his clandestine battle to stop a horrible attack. I really came to love these men, their strength and determination, but also their loyalty and their support of one another. Even in silence and in coarse, concise words, these men convey a sense of camaraderie that is single minded in their goals. The bond that easily grows between them is wonderful to see develop.
It tends to go hand in hand with the ever developing plot of the story which is in and of itself quite intricate. It is ever expanding going from the simple task of drawing out a man named Mediggo to evolve in to something deep and complex with underlying currents and twists that you would never expect. There is no doubt that this novel will keep you on your toes and constantly guessing because by the time you reach the half way point you come to find that not everything is as it seems and from there that observation only becomes more and more clear. Especially when it comes to the ending which took me completely by surprise. I honestly never considered that outcome and the open possibilities left lingering at the culmination of this novel hold a lot of great promise for the future novels to come.
In the end, as far as debut novels go, this was phenomenal and everything that you could expect and desire in thriller or spy novel. There is plenty to keep you interested and the characters are fully three dimensional with a intricate plot line that never seems to slow. The writing was amazing which was something that really surprised me as I was expecting something more clipped, but instead this novel was fluid and easily stepped in to. Over all, I have to say that I loved this novel and that I will definitely be looking forward to more novels by Matthew Dunn in the future, especially if they involve this utterly endearing and intriguing spy known as Spartan.