I am delighted to share my review for How To Betray Your Country by James Wolff. This is the 2nd book in the trilogy and it does work well as a stand alone.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this thriller book.
Following on from the acclaimed debut novel Beside the Syrian Sea, this is the second title in a planned trilogy about loyalty and betrayal in the modern world.
An authentic thriller about the thin line between following your conscience and following orders. James Wolff is the pseudonym of a young English novelist who “has been working for the British government for the last ten years”.
Things are looking bad for disgraced spy August Drummond. In emotional free fall after the death of
his wife, fired for a series of security breaches… and now his neighbor on the flight to Istanbul won’t
stop talking. The only thing keeping August sane is the hunch that there’s something not quite right
about the nervous young man several rows ahead – a hunch confirmed when August watches him
throw away directions to a European cemetery seconds before being detained by Turkish police. A
reckless August decides to go to the cemetery, where he meets a mysterious figure from the dark
heart of the Islamic State and quickly finds himself drawn into a shadowy plot to murder an Iranian
scientist in Istanbul.
But nothing is what it seems, and before long August realizes he has gone too far to turn back. As he
struggles to break free from the clutches of Islamic State and play off British intelligence against their
Turkish counterparts, he will find his resourcefulness, ingenuity and courage tested to the very limit of
what he can endure.
The synopsis for this book is a good length so it does go into depth. This is the second book in the trilogy, and I do think I would have benefited from reading the first book. The first book would have given me an idea of what happened to August Drummond and what caused his decline. It is however mentioned in this second book.
This is a story that is slower-paced than I am used to with a spy thriller style. I found this novel to be a spy thriller but it is more about looking at what’s happening with August. So, while he is working and trying to discover plots the reader also joins him in his psychological journey.
August is a man who is very definitely struggling with grief, he has problems with his drinking and his general appearance. The author has portrayed him as a very sad and lonely person who is just hanging in there, trying to do his job and who is really on the edge. He is a character who I really felt for as he struggles with life and keeping in the loop with his work.
For me, this was more about August rather than the spy and espionage part, although that was very good indeed. It is a story that at first had me confused as I tried to work out the basics and then to get my head around the plot that is constantly evolving, I do feel for poor August in this respect!
Even though I did take longer reading this, I was so glad I persevered as things gradually started to come together, I found myself caring about what happened to August and also one of the other characters, Yousef. There are two different styles to this story, one is the story itself and the other is a series of reports and documents. These threw me initially and it was further into the story where I started to realise the significance of them.
This is a book that does fall into the spy thriller genre, its slower pace and the psychological side may throw readers if they are looking for a more general fast-paced story. I enjoyed this book and I did like the journey, it is one I would recommend.
About the Author…
James Wolff is an exciting new voice in literary thriller writing. He grew up in the Middle East and now lives in London. He has worked for the British government for the past ten years.
Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…
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