Spartan Revisited

Despite my reservations, I stuck with my latest novel, Spartan, that I mentioned last week and my first impressions were pretty much borne out by the rest of the book.

The author, Matthew Dunn, has created a central character who he clearly believes is super-human. In the space of the days that the book covers, Will ‘Indestructible’ Cochrane is:

Shot in the stomach twice, blown up by a hand-grenade, clubbed in the head with a rifle butt, shot in the shoulder, set on fire, tortured by strangulation, hit by a glancing bullet to the head, blown up by an explosive trap, frozen (several times) and knocked unconscious.

And those are the ones I can remember, but still he got up, upper lip stiffened, and carried on being the hero. But what sort of hero?

To be honest, I hope he isn’t the sort of spy protecting the freedom of the west. To start with, Will Cochrane is emotionally erratic, barely batting an eyelid when one of his colleagues is mown down and all sticky sentimental the next.

And not that bright either, failing to see what is obvious to the reader until 250 pages later.

Matthew Dunn is a former MI6 operative and the book is sold on its realism, but there were a number technical issues that even I, a non-spy, picked up on.

For example, triggering a bomb with a mobile phone while deep in the bowels of a building, surrounded by all the heating and electrical pipes and the structural girders. I would consider myself very lucky to get a signal.

But it is a shame that the book lets itself down on various fronts because otherwise it is quite an enjoyable romp in the action sequences and I suspect there is more of Will Cochrane to come.

On my five star scale, this one merits a two and a half.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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