He calls himself Samuel Carver. He was trained by the British, but now he works for the mysterious Consortium. His specialty is making bad guys suffer "accidents" of the lethal variety.
But now he's on the run. The Consortium lied to him about his last target, and then some Russians tried to kill him. Now one of those Russians - the beautiful Alix - is on the run with him too, but can he trust her?
A few weeks ago, I gave a mediocre review to No Survivors, volume two of The Accident Man series, so I thought to go back to the original novel to see if it was any better.
This is a fairly clever novel which takes the basic facts of Princess Diana's death and spins a "what if" conspiracy tale about a freelance spy-and-assassination service, a powerful ex-KGB oligarch, the rivalry between MI5 and MI6, a rogue French intelligence agent, the brotherhood of ex-marines, an unstoppable killer named Kursk, a laptop filled with secrets, and a host of unique characters introduced along the way. Is it completely believable? No. Is it fun? Yes.
The sequel disappointed by failing to introduce the major characters, and by emphasizing "007"-type action. This novel paints a satisfyingly full picture of Samuel Carver, layer by layer, while leaving Alix a mystery almost to the end. The action sequences - in the English Channel, in Paris and Geneva, in hotels and mansions - are suitable to the plot.
There's a romantic subplot with Carver falling in love with Alix, yet wondering if he can trust her... and Alix seeming to fall for Carver... that's a fun read, though it seems a bit plot-driven at times.
Note that there is some violence and sexual content, though relatively little for a book of this type.
Wargamers interested in Modern skirmish gaming should be inspired by several of the encounters.
Bottom line: This is a great adventure tale, highly recommended.
A final note: This book shares a number of similarities to Killing Rain, which I have previously reviewed. Both involve freelance assassins betrayed by their employers. Both assassins are ex-special forces, both have friends who handle technology issues, and both have spies as girlfriends (though, in the Rain series, not in the original novel). However, despite the points in common, the novels are different in terms of characters, setting, and writing style.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .