Tigerman- Nick Harkaway

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Tigerman- Nick Harkaway

Post by Graham on Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:50 pm

Harkaway is a new author to me but on the strength of this I will read anything he writes. It is set on Marceu, a tropical island under threat of destruction from it’s increasingly violent volcano. In the faded colonial splendour of Brighton House, Sergeant Lester Ferris has been put out to pasture as Brevet Consul to vouchsafe Her Majesty’s minimal interests. Out in the bay a sinister fleet rides at anchor, a motley collection of extra-national and supra-legal entities profiting from Marceu’s sparse oversight to indulge in everything from drug-running to illegal body-part replacement. The Sergeant has aquired a paternal interest in a young orphan addicted to comics and internet slang. His plans to adopt the boy are thrown into confusion when a mutual friend is mown down by automatic gunfire. The island begins a descent into chaos from which only a superhero can rescue the boy.

A quote on the cover likens it to a combination of Graham Greene and Stan Lee. It certainly has the depth and characterisation of Greene. As to comics, black and white line drawings never express for me the nuances of human character and emotion but this book does. It is an unusal combination, a page-turning thriller with real heart. There is love-interest, there is redemption, there is action and also a biting commentary on realpolitik. It is a modern adventure story in the mould of Kipling but bang up to date. It is also funny and heart-warming though the ending may not please everyone.

David pointed out he often assessed books by their first sentence and read this one out. Judge for yourself:
     ‘On the steps of the old mission house, the Sergeant sat with the boy who called himself Robin, and watched a pelican swallowing a pigeon.’

Graham
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