Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boyd, William (Restless)

I'm not mustering a lot of enthusiasm to write this review. It wasn't that the writing wasn't keen and the characters weren't well drawn and the setting wasn't pretty darn fascinating. It's that it started off so slowly. And that surprised me.

In the beginning, our heroine (or one of our heroines) is being wooed to the life of being a spy, but in a most lethargical manner. Emotion doesn't overrun anyone, and there aren't any impassioned speeches. Instead everything's very British and upstanding. Even the sex scenes, while plenty pornographic (oddly), are discussed in a remarkably detached manner. Nothing about the plot is confusing, that's quite nicely laid out. It's just the overall ambience that refuses to draw you in.

The best thing about the book is learning even the tiniest bit about spying, and in particular, about WWII and British spies in America. It left me wondering what Boyd was not telling us, or what he simply is unable to know because it's all still kept in locked steel vaults. I think of the recent, and ongoing, problems with Russian spies in Britain, and I wonder if this is something pervasive and unique to that country. It's all very intriguing.

If you're looking for a bit of a laconic read, and a world you likely know very little about, give it a try. But it's not a wholehearted recommendation.

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