In his novel, the Radio 4 broadcaster takes us back to Paris in 1968, a time in which revolution was in the air. In describing in detail the sights and sounds that the characters encounter, we are transported back to a period when uncertainty reigned and the authorities were on the verge of losing control.
The book features Will Flemyng, a spy surrounded by a cast of characters with personal and political issues to resolve. Against his best intentions, Will is drawn into a murky world where it appears that he can trust no-one. Towards the start of the story, he is involved in what appears to be a chance encounter on the Paris underground, but it quickly becomes apparent to him that it is a personal matter which he must resolve. A mysterious murder follows and Will has to navigate the various dead-ends and misinformation he is presented with to try and get to the story behind it. Not far behind him are the journalists, who try to untangle the complicated story. Will is intent on keeping loyal to his family, but that is tested once they become involved in the plot.
This book is one which has been very well researched by the author and gives us a clear indication of the mood of the time. It is a story of the complications of the business of spying, mixed with the very deep bonds of family loyalties which means that following Will through the book is a compelling journey. In many ways, it is a book that reverts back to the traditional spy novels, with meetings in back rooms of side-street cafes and dead letterbox drop-offs. We look forward to hearing from the author at the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival about his influences in writing this book as it is clear that there is some affection for the era and Paris itself.
Phil Parkinson is an associate and a solicitor specialising in Corporate Law at Raworths LLP.
James Naughtie is appearing at the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival on Sunday 10 July at 12pm. Click Here to Book.