‘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.
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)