The Foot Soldiers: A Sunday Times Thriller of the Month (Jonas Merrick series)

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The Foot Soldiers: A Sunday Times Thriller of the Month (Jonas Merrick series)

The Foot Soldiers: A Sunday Times Thriller of the Month (Jonas Merrick series)

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Long time readers of Seymour's fabulous secret service novels will remember early books that had sad and depressing endings. When the final chapters became more upbeat I thought somebody must have told Mr. Seymour that he could make the story as dreadfully depressing as he liked but the denouement was to be cheerful or his books would not be published. A British writer, Gerald Seymour is most famous for describing reality-based, war-time conflict. He is the best-selling author of over 30 thrillers. Is the information they bring worth the cost of protecting them for the rest of their lives? Is it even genuine? Might they be double agents?

It’s the first book I’ve read by Gerald Seymour. I chose the book because I’ve heard so much about his previous writing. Unfortunately, the book left me underwhelmed.He has never lost his journalist's eye for the stories behind the news * The Sunday Times on The Crocodile Hunter * Initially a journalist, Gerald joined the Independent Television Network (ITN) in 1963, and forged a successful career. He covered controversial situations such as the Munich Olympics Massacre and Palestinian Militant Groups. Yorkshire Television turned Harry’s Game into a 3-part miniseries in 1982. Ray Lonnen, the lead actor in the cold-war spy drama series The Sandbaggers, portrayed Harry Brown. Singer-actor Derek Thompson played the elusive Billy Downes. The miniseries received warm reactions, with critics giving kudos to the actors for their credible performances. I've made this sound quite simple, but of course it is much more complex and with a second storyline running alongside. At the end of the first chapter, I was a little confused and struggling with all the characters and who everyone was but I know that if I keep reading it will all slot into place. Gerald Seymour is a master storyteller in my opinion and I love the fact that finally, after many years of writing, he has started a series. Keep them coming please! Gerald Seymour has found a good formula for churning out novels almost, it seems, at will. This reader has read many of them over the years and has usually found them current, realistic and well researched. Each are different from one another and on this occasion, this reader thought that even though it was a bit slow in places, the novel itself felt authentic, quite believable with realistic characters and situations. This person thought that he was actually on the bus (in chapter 16) looking over at the park where Jonas and the surveillance team were stationed with Sadie Jilkes badgering the bus driver to stop. Quite an accomplishment by the author.

The story is about counter-intelligence and MI5, which is inherently duller than espionage and MI6 (catching spies is mmore boring than spying), but that was not the problem - the plot was good enough. What I had a hard time to bear with was the protagonist’s characterisation; with the aim of making him look smart and unconventional, the author stretches the protagonist’s habits, customs and idiosyncrasies to such an extreme that he becomes a caricature (almost an OCD type); except that making your dude look like a weirdo does not make him more interesting - to me, at least. By continuing to disguise himself as an idiot, he ends up looking like one. It’s not necessary to read the previous book to enjoy this one (but I recommend you do as it is just as good), but, inevitably, there are spoilers for it in this book as Jonas’ story continues. I felt enjoyment at the annual instalment of ‘Gerald Seymour’, and he’s still got literary flexibility and quality flowing from his fingers. I look forward to the next JM instalmentSimply put: This is vintage GS. I found the first book in the series somewhat ‘difficult’. I can’t clearly say ‘what’, but it wasn’t the usual, the way it’s liked best. The thrilling, yet pragmatic nature of his books continues to draw readers in. The spine-chilling, fictional events he describes, based on his journalistic encounters, are situations readers relate to easily. TV Adaptations Also, it was one of the rare times this reader has read a novel and finished it without really liking any of the characters in the story! Yet, even though it was a character driven story, this person still enjoyed the novel immensely. The author , this person thought, was trying to show the grim side of counter-intelligence work (MI5) and the cost it has on their lives. It was through Seymour's powerful writing that he could take a simple storyline and, even with a predictable conclusion, still give the reader a spellbinding story. 4 STARS. A cleverly nuanced climax in which tables are unexpectedly turned more than once . . . marks this as a novel of real quality. Top brass * The Times *

The Glory Boys was another 3-part miniseries produced by Yorkshire television in 1984. It starred Anthony Perkins as Jimmy, the alcoholic ex-British Government agent who tries to protect Israeli Professor David Sokarev, played by Rod Steiger. Aaron Harris starred as IRA agent Cillian McCoy, while Gary Brown took the role of PLO assassin Famy. Critics complimented the competent acting, but did not relish Yorkshire Television’s slow, mediocre adaptation of Gerald’s novel. Seymour’s writing is clinical and concise, and often quite dense, which won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I really like it as an antidote to modern thrillers.Defectors are not always welcome. Is the information they bring worth the cost of protecting them for the rest of their lives? Is it even genuine? Might they be double agents? The plot, characters and arc of this story are most excellent. I read it in 3 sittings and it held my attention well. You find yourself rooting for some characters, despising others, and being frustrated at still more of them but; ultimately, they all play their parts perfectly. What you need, in a great tale. This is a wonderfully complex and unputdownable tale of defectors, traitors, internal politics or "high jingo" as Michael Connelly would describe it and assassination both actual and character. This was a mixed bag for me. One could define The Foot Soldiers as deliciously complex and multilayered, someone else as annoyingly fragmented and disjointed; I found the line between the two a rather fine one. The story follows two very separate and parallel threads, and one presumes they will connect in so e way before the end; except they don't... The three British masters of suspense, Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and John le Carre, have been joined by a fourth - Gerald Seymour * New York Times on The Outsiders *

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