SECOND OPINION: Nomad by James Swallow

Article published on November 5, 2016.

When I saw this was being compared to I Am Pilgrim I was a little bit dubious, but it actually is a really great book with a gripping plot and great characters.

The novel revolves around Marc Dane, an MI6 techie who sees his team killed whilst trying to thwart a terrorist network. As the only survivor, all eyes point to Marc. He is determined to clear his name and in trying to evade capture, he finds himself working alongside Rubicon, a major multinational also fighting the war on terror. With their help, Marc uncovers a shocking means of committing acts of terror and he sets out to prevent an imminent attack, while also uncovering a mole in MI6.

It does have a similar plot to I Am Pilgrim, with the lone investigator taking on an unimaginable terrorist threat, and there are similar good point about this. Marc Dane is a really great lead character. Swallow really gets the reader inside his head as he goes outside his comfort zone behind a computer screen to take on terrorists in the field. Swallow is really imaginative in how he does this – its not just a shoot-em-up – and it was a really good way of taking Dane’s character and making it believable. Dane also meets up with Lucy Keyes while working for Rubicon, and the two of them are a really good pairing. Keyes is a mysterious and dark assassin, but as the plot progresses they bring the different facets of each other’s character out, which adds to the great plot.

Swallow is also very creative in terms of his imaginative terrorist plot. I won’t give away the details, but it is truly harrowing as we uncover the details and I actually had a huge amount of sympathy for those involved.

The only slight criticism I have is that I did guess early on who the mole was, and no amount of side-tracking and plot twists waived me from that view, although it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story.

I can see this novel being a huge hit because it has everything a great crime thriller should. It does live up to the comparison with other great novels of its type and it will have readers gripped from page 1.

This is the start of a series of novels featuring Marc Dane and I can’t wait to read them, although I do hope they live up to my expectations!!

Sam Woodfield 5/5

Nomad by James Swallow
Zaffre 9781785760419 hbk Jun 2016


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