A Darker Place
Putnam, Feb 2009, $26.95
A former paratrooper who fought in Afghanistan and Chechnia, internationally renowned Russian novelist Alexander Kurbsky decides to leave his homeland for the West, but believes his fame might prevent him from staying abroad. Thus, Kurbsky asks Sean Dillon and his associates who make up the British prime minister’s “private army” to abet his escape to freedom.
Prime Minister Putin warns Kurbsky about betraying his country and blackmails the author into spying on Dillon and his comrades by showing him pictures of his sister Tania, who he thought was murdered during a student protest that turned ugly; the photos prove Tania lives for now and will be paroled from her life sentence if he cooperates. Dillon and his girlfriend Lady Monica Sterling, a big fan of Kurbsky especially On the Death of Men and Moscow Nights, welcome the noted author to London. There he infiltrates the “private army” that welcomed him to England in an attempt to rescue his sibling from incarceration.
The latest former IRA operative turn British agent Sean Dillon thriller (see THE KILLING GROUND and ROUGH JUSTICE) is a superb entry as he, Monica and the others are totally fooled by Kurbsky. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action even when the plot uses enlightening flashbacks. Fans will relish A DARKER PLACE although the climax feels sudden and faster than the speed of light.