The storyline is preposterous. It depends on a suspension of credulity, which I can’t achieve – not that I tried hard. Astonishingly I finished the book. The only justification for this is that I took it away for Christmas and there wasn’t anything else. (That’s thin. I could have bought something on Amazon.)
On a more sinister level I suddenly realised I was manipulated by a masterful novelist into subliminal racism. There are two heroic westerners, UK and USA, in a middle eastern country.1 They’re treated barbarically but because of their racial superiority they triumph. Even the westernised sophisticated go-between is hopelessly compromised by not being English.
The hero, who’s anything but ‘Reluctant’, establishes contact with freedom fighters. But, of course, they can’t achieve anything without his assistance.
This is an appalling book, which was applauded by Frederick Forsyth and the Financial Times amongst others.
1 Dobbs used the country of Kyrgyzstan as a ’model’. p439