ABOUT THE BOOK
Probably my favourite book of the year . . . a fabulous thriller, full on, remarkable and ingenious. Michael Jecks
A story so strong, you suspect it MUST be true . . . one of the 21st century’s masters of the thriller genre’ Jon Snow
The new novel from the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award-winning author of A Loyal Spy
ISIS can’t control him.
MI6 can’t find him.
But he’s coming…
Things change quickly in the world of espionage and clandestine operations. Jude Lyon of MI6 remembers the captured terrorist bomb-maker. He watched him being flown off to Syria, back when Syria was ‘friendly’. No-one expected him to survive interrogation there.
Yet the man is alive and someone has broken him out of jail.
Bad news for the former foreign secretary who authorised his rendition. And Jude’s boss Queen Bee who knew he wasn’t a terrorist at all, but an innocent bystander. Now she calls Jude back from a dangerously enjoyable mission involving a Russian diplomat’s wife.
He has a new job: close down this embarrassment. Fast.
But embarrassment is only the beginning. Someone is using the former prisoner to front a new and unspeakably terrifying campaign. Someone not even ISIS can control.
He is like a rumour, a myth, a whisper on the desert wind. But he is real and he is coming for us …
He is the genius known only as …
From the corridors of Westminster to the refugee camps of Jordan, the back streets of East London to the badlands of Iraq, The Stranger is a nerve-shredding journey of suspense as Jude Lyon pieces together the shape of an implacable horror coming towards him – and a conspiracy of lies behind him.
This is one of my top reads this year.
I have to admit that it is also my first book by the author and what an impression he has left. The story begins with a gift from MI6 in 2006 to the Syrian authorities of a man in their custody that is known as the Engineer and his 7 months pregnant wife. It is said that he is responsible for the deaths of a number of people, including 25 British soldiers. There is no trial or compassion. The man pleads he is innocent but no-one listens. Jude Lyon of MI6 witnessed them being put on the plane, something that didn’t rest easy with him. Ten years on the Engineer is rescued and it could bring the whole British Government crashing down.
Oh my, within the first pages I got a glimpse of this man’s existence and it is haunting. I know that this happens in the world daily and no-one does anything to stop it. It wasn’t just the horrific way people died, it was the quantity, a never-ending daily count that just grew. The writing is powerful with chapters that switch between the three main characters, The Engineer, The Stranger and Jude Lyon of MI6. Jude uncovers the truth about the Engineer and finds himself in a race against the clock to find out which British target the Stranger intends to hit. He knows if he fails the death count will be huge.
This story has such a realness to it that I could imagine the headline news that would go along with the events that were unfolding. The Stranger is a really complex character, the sort that I love reading about. I am not going to tell you his name, you need to discover it yourself in the book. Even on a hot day like it is now just writing this makes me shudder.
He is a master of manipulation through any means possible, a magnetic charm that gives him control over people. A brilliantly written character that you see from all sides. Some people are just born evil and no matter who their parents no amount of money can change that.
A belting reading. I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Conway is a former British Army officer and international aid worker. With The HALO Trust and later as director of Landmine Action he cleared landmines and unexploded bombs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
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 Glasgow with his wife the journalist and broadcaster Sarah Smith. He has two daughters.