Through a series of flashbacks, Sam Eastland layers on the suspense in this historical thriller. It's a first-rate yarn read by a first-rate narrator, Paul Michael.
The author has a researcher's keen eye for historical detail and he uses that detail to paint background pictures of two worlds -- life in the orbit of the Czar before the revolution and the less-than-idealistic reality of the already stumbling Soviet state.
Each time I thought I had the plot figured out, there was another twist that propelled the book forward.
Well worth the investment of time. With luck, we'll hear from the Emerald Eye again.
Through the psychological struggle (insanity?) of the central character, Stuart Neville brilliantly captures the rough edges of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland. He does a great job painting the backdrop -- how criminality became "freedom fighting" or "loyalism," then morphed back into racketeering as the peace process took hold in a post 9/11 world.
I used to spend childhood summers in Northern Ireland during the 1960s and early 70s, so I was particularly alert for flaws in authenticity. If there were any, I missed them.
The narrator, Gerard Doyle, is excellent -- superbly capturing both the nuances of the psychosis of the main character and the Belfast brogue. He seamlessly transitions between condescending Whitehall officials and Belfast thugs.
Given the death toll, this book is not for the squeamish or for listening with youngsters in the car. The detail is certainly designed to make the reader/listener uncomfortable -- and ultimately how I was drawn into the head of the central character.
In summary, an excellent yarn, very well produced as an audiobook.
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