Tim's Reviews > House of the Hunted

House of the Hunted by Mark Mills
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Feb 04, 12

bookshelves: mystery-suspense
Read in January, 2012

Not a bad book...just not a try good book:

Tom Nash, the reluctant hero of this genial historical thriller set in France in 1935, is haunted by his past, particularly an experience as an operative of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service in 1919 in post-revolutionary Russia. But Mills, in his fourth novel, is in no hurry to reveal what happened between Nash and his lover Irina Bibikov--indeed, the entire novel feels sluggishly paced. Now a writer, Nash is enjoying a well-heeled expatriate life on the French Riviera, surrounded this particularly summer by a large supporting cast including his longtime spymaster Leonard, his wife, and daughter Lucy, Nash’s 20-something goddaughter; “White Russian émigrés” Yevgeny and Fanya Martynov; among others. But this idyll is tainted by an unsuccessful attempt on Nash’s life, which forces Nash to resuscitate his spy skills and question the loyalty of almost everyone around him. The undercurrent of threat to Nash, coupled with the harbingers of the coming war in Europe, is very much at odds with the lovely foreground setting, as if Mills can’t decide if he’s writing an historical soap opera or a thriller. The prose is often pleasing, the period details interesting and convincing, but the plot can scarcely be taken seriously.
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