Siege, by Simon Kernick
Bestselling British author Simon Kernick delivers everything fans have come to expect from the London-born author: pace, action and a relentless plot that packs as much of a punch as the bullets it is riddled with.
Kernick’s latest book, Siege, is a fast-paced, action-packed ride of a thriller. Turn the first page, settle down and hold tight as you embark upon a high-speed thrill ride.
Opening with a bang with a terrorist attack on London and a high-stakes hostage situation in the Stanhope Hotel, Kernick’s writing immediately introduces the reader to pace, violence and action.
Though the writing is a bit more like a documentary than a crime novel, Kernick’s story is undeniably believable. The research, meticulous attention to detail and realism of the villains and the situation all lend the novel an air of authenticity. However, due to his preoccupation with details and his fast-paced writing style, it’s a bit difficult to really become invested in the characters leaving the reader floundering a bit at first trying to keep track of many different characters. Once you get a more than a few pages in, the confusion ebbs and the action starts to kick in. Of course by that point, the plot is gripping and the next twist and turn in the action leaves the reader anxious to discover what will happen next, despite the lack emotional connection to the characters.
Kernick creates a small squad of villainous ex-military men and extremists to explore the themes of extremism, racism and nationalism. As Kernick admits in his after-note, he wanted to avoid the obvious Islamist extremism angle, instead creating a team of bad guys who were extreme right-wing mercenaries allied with an unnamed Arab government looking to wreak revenge upon the UK for its support of the Arab Spring. While the plot skates close to the possibility of being overtaken by real events, Kernick toes the line but doesn’t cross it. It remains a work of fiction, but even Kernick acknowledges that it is something which could quite feasibly step off the pages and become real. In today’s world where terrorism is a very real concern, the novel is somewhat unsettling when considered in that light.
However, it is a work of fiction and quite an enjoyable one. The book plays out much as an action film – ruthless violence, villains with political agendas and many different characters involved in the hostage situation. The reader is left a bit disengaged from the characters, yet glued to the page with the desire to see what will happen next.
Siege is an undeniably gripping and fast-paced thrill ride that will at the very least provide a night of white-knuckled anticipation and a satisfying read.
Siege was published on 20th February 2012 by Transworld.