Review published on June 24, 2017.
Exile is the follow-up to the brilliant Nomad, from veteran scriptwriter and author James Swallow, where he is building on the introduction to the world of Marc Dane. While Exile is building on what Nomad started and will continue to do so, it is also worth remembering that to some the plot may be a little far-fetched, but Exile is about escapism pure and simple. Escape is something that is at the heart of this book, I just wished I had Marc Dane’s luck as he can pick my lottery numbers.
Marc Dane has been cashiered (burn notice for my American friends) from MI6 and is working in a dead-end job monitoring the sales of counterfeit nuclear weapons and other proscribed materials for the United Nations, out in Croatia. His bosses do not want him there and give him jobs that a junior investigator should handle rather than an experienced field officer.
When he takes to his boss information that a Croatian criminal gang has got their hands on nuclear material, he is ignored and told not to go any further. As he ignores the instruction, he investigates further, to find a Soviet Cold War era nuclear devices was on the open market and the Croatians were to be the brokers.
With his cynical boss ignoring what he says, Dane sets out to get the proof he needs, which leads to a chain reaction of unexpected results, even more so when a Somali warlord, known for his ruthlessness, appears on the scene. The warlord leaves in his wake a scene of devastation, which Dane takes the blame for and is hence sacked from his job.
Dane knows he is right and needs help to track down the device, make it safe and hopefully make the world a little safer too. He turns to the Monaco-based Rubicon Group, who are specialists in security, intelligence and operating in zones other people would leave well alone. With their help, he begins the chase across Africa and the Middle East, rolling with the punches, getting shot at and with people generally trying their best to kill him.
As Rubicon help him search the globe and the dark web for traces of the device, Dane knows he cannot fail and the pressure builds. He knows he is on the clock and has more than his reputation to save, since millions will die if the device is set to detonate.
This really is a fast-paced thriller that draws you in and keeps you on the hook all the way through.
Paul Diggett 4/4
Exile by James Swallow
Zaffre 9781785760440 hbk Jun 2017