The End of Days?

‘The Survivor’ by Simon Conway

You can read an exclusive Q&A with Simon Conway here

You can support the blog and order ‘The Survivor’ from the Bookshop link here https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781529334388

Jude Lyon of MI6 has narrowly foiled the traitor Fowle’s plot to level London, but the public are demanding answers.

Answers the government doesn’t have.

As the country reels, a new populist political figure carves a stratospheric trajectory – but is he all he seems?

In Moscow the President is furious. The world now knows the destructive power of the programme his people had been developing, and as the Russians scramble to understand how it got into Fowle’s hands, they start to worry that perhaps it could be used against them . . .

But Jude Lyon has just one question on his mind: Guy Fowle is missing, with nothing left to lose,

So what is he planning next?

Seething with political machinations, burning with blood-thumping action, and featuring the best returning MI6 operative since James Bond ‘The Survivor’ brings the espionage novel crashing into the modern day.

Shane Whaley, the legendary host of the Spybrary podcast and it’s associated Facebook group (excellent for fans of Spy Writing, appalling for the bank balance), often says he wishes that he had been alive in the time when many of the giants of the spy fiction world were publishing books.

I can’t help being delighted that we are alive in such a time as now. Mick Herron and Simon Conway are two writers destined to be remembered as first level writers of excellence in the genre. With ‘The Survivor’, Conway cements his position at the summit.

Greater experts than I concur. The Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman – he of the impeccable contacts book and the planet-sized intellect – ranks Conway at 26 in his list of the 120 all time spy writers. Although this seems low, Shipman suggests that, “if he gets the support he deserves from publishers, the sky is the limit,” and this seems about right.

When I reviewed Conway’s previous outing in the series, ‘The Saboteur’, I said, “There is also more crash, bang, wallop than in the first… Conway’s background allows him to write about the violence with predictably bone-jarring verisimilitude but – and perhaps more importantly from a character development and depth of reading enjoyment point of view – is equally strong on the aftermath of terrible acts on people forced to endure unimaginable suffering.”

This blending of the sickening after effects of violence on individuals with the clock ticking tension is once again here in full force as Lyon travels the globe hunting Fowle and attempting to get ahead of the ying to his yang at the same time as a new Prime Minister tries to stamp his authority on a financially and emotionally ravaged country.

Just as well it is fiction, eh?

With an expanded cast of characters and displaying his usual behind the scenes insights into the personalities, petty jealousies and shifting sands of loyalties and politicking within the espionage community, Conway has rendered a must read adventure.

Packed with excitement, exotic locations and the down-to-earth crunch of bone on bone, Conway truly is the heir apparent to Ian Fleming. Not in the cinematic Bond who is too debonair but in the literary Fleming where lives are seldom taken with a quip and bruises take whole books to heal.

‘The Survivor’ is, apparently, the concluding outing in the trilogy. I can only hope that – as Le Carre did with Smiley – there is at least one further outing for the Lyon of the urban jungle.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?field-isbn=9781529334340&tag=hachetteuk-21

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/search/ref=mn_anon-h_tseft?advsearchKeywords=The%20Survivor&author_author=Simon%20Conway&utm_source=awin&source_code=CMJ30DFT1Bk145032919907C&awc=8095_1667380669_c449a3f458d9c93973c432baa259bb8c

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781529334340

Bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781529334388

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-survivor,simon-conway-jamie-parker-9781529334340

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781529334340?awc=3787_1667380645_f18b79282282c93d418730db8993fd15&utm_source=508909&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hachette.co.uk

Author Bio

Simon Conway is a former British Army officer and international aid worker. He has cleared landmines and the other debris of war across the world.

As Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition he successfully campaigned to achieve an international ban on cluster bombs.

He is currently working as Director of Capability for The HALO Trust.

He lives in Edinburgh with his wife the journalist and broadcaster Sarah Smith. He has two daughters. (Biography courtesy of www.simonconwaybooks.com)

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/simongconway

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.conway.author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simongconway/?hl=en

Question and Answers with Simon Conway

You can read a review of Simon’s latest novel, ‘The Survivor’ here

You can support the blog and order ‘The Survivor’ from the Bookshop.org link here

Jude Lyon of MI6 has narrowly foiled the traitor Fowle’s plot to level London, but the public are demanding answers.

Answers the government doesn’t have.

As the country reels, a new populist political figure carves a stratospheric trajectory – but is he all he seems?

In Moscow the President is furious. The world now knows the destructive power of the programme his people had been developing, and as the Russians scramble to understand how it got into Fowle’s hands, they start to worry that perhaps it could be used against them . . .

But Jude Lyon has just one question on his mind: Guy Fowle is missing, with nothing left to lose,

So what is he planning next?

Seething with political machinations, burning with blood-thumping action, and featuring the best returning MI6 operative since James Bond ‘The Survivor’ brings the espionage novel crashing into the modern day.

PAJNewman (PN): ‘The Survivor’ follows just over a year from the publication of ‘The Saboteur’. How has your last year been? I think I’m correct in thinking that you have moved to America. Is that altering the way you work and are you still planning on publishing at the rate you’ve been for this trilogy?

Simon Conway (SC): I moved to the USA in March with my wife who is reporting on US politics for the BBC. I’m still travelling but at a slight slower pace. This year I’ve been in East Africa, Ukraine and the South Pacific for work but with long enough between trips to settle in here in Washington, DC. It’s a fascinating and in many ways disturbing time to be here.  If anything, the atmosphere here is more febrile than in the wake of the storming of the capitol. It feels like democracy is under threat and there is a danger of politically motivated violence. It’s rich material for future books. I am enjoying writing and I’m hoping to keep up the pace.

PN: How are you getting on with balancing the demands of the publisher, the public and your other job for the HALO Trust?

SC: I’m finding a balance. For the last year I’ve been working part-time for HALO unless I’m overseas on mission. That gives me more time to time to stare out the window, which I’ve convinced myself is all important for writers. I have a large laurel oak just outside my window in Georgetown and watching it change with the seasons has been ceaselessly diverting.

PN: In ‘The Survivor’ Jude is still recovering from his injuries sustained at the end of his last outing and London remains in ruins. The marketing is saying that this concludes the Jude Lyon series. Is this confirmed or can you imagine bring Jude back in future?

SC: Put this way, we may see more of those who survive…

PN: How do you feel about this outing for Jude? Are you finding your attitude to your work has shifted across the three novels?

SC: Jude is understandably scarred by what has happened in the last two books and I think we see a more reflective side of him and Yulia Ermolaeva in The Survivor. There is a quiet pleasure in writing characters that you are familiar with and I’m going to miss some of them. At the same time, I wanted to keep up the pace. I got a message from Mick Herron a couple of days ago, who read an advance copy. He said that it’s like being “strapped to a rocket” which pleased me no end. It was always going to be a challenge to complete the trilogy given the mayhem caused in The Saboteur and I hope that I’ve achieved it.

PN: How easy or hard was it to avoid the Covid overtures to some of the decisions taken by the Prime Minister in the novel. Do you get satisfaction out of the layers of comic irony this generates?

SC: I think that Covid has highlighted the fragility and inter-connectedness of modern society and that is particularly interesting if you are exploring its vulnerability to acts of sabotage and how ill-prepared our political system is to respond. One of the more enjoyable aspects of the books has been creating the politicians: Frank Booth the self-pitying former Foreign Secretary responsible for an illegal rendition in The Stranger; Gabriel Morley, the hapless Chancellor of the Exchequer in The Saboteur who becomes a Russian pawn; and Lee Chapeaux, the youthful insurgent who sees himself as a latter-day Cromwell and becomes Prime Minister in The Survivor without facing the electorate. He is quite happy to burn everything down to rebuild from the ashes.

PN: I know one of your novels is in development for TV (https://www.simonconwaybooks.com/rock-creek-park) Would you be willing to let this trilogy be adapted? If so, do you have an actor in mind for either Jude or Guy?

SC: I’m open minded. They’d have to do a lot of damage to London! I don’t have a specific actor in mind. That’s for others to decide. Who do you have in mind?

PN: In terms of the HALO Trust, is there any way for readers to help support the work that you are doing?

SC: Absolutely, I encourage people to follow The HALO Trust on social media and spread the message. Take a look at www.halotrust.org. We have been quite successful at public fund raising for our work in Ukraine.

PN: What is the question you wished interviewers and readers would ask but never do?

SC: I think that interviewers and readers find their way to the right questions.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?field-isbn=9781529334340&tag=hachetteuk-21

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/search/ref=mn_anon-h_tseft?advsearchKeywords=The%20Survivor&author_author=Simon%20Conway&utm_source=awin&source_code=CMJ30DFT1Bk145032919907C&awc=8095_1667380669_c449a3f458d9c93973c432baa259bb8c

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781529334340

Bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10526/9781529334388

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-survivor,simon-conway-jamie-parker-9781529334340

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781529334340?awc=3787_1667380645_f18b79282282c93d418730db8993fd15&utm_source=508909&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hachette.co.uk

Author Bio:

Simon Conway is a former British Army officer and international aid worker. He has cleared landmines and the other debris of war across the world.

As Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition he successfully campaigned to achieve an international ban on cluster bombs.

He is currently working as Director of Capability for The HALO Trust.

He lives in Edinburgh with his wife the journalist and broadcaster Sarah Smith. He has two daughters. (Biography courtesy of www.simonconwaybooks.com)

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/simongconway

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.conway.author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simongconway/?hl=en