The Kremlin Device – Chris Ryan – 7/10

Chris Ryan

Summary: Geordie is officially leading a crack SAS team to Russia to teach the Russian SAS to deal with the proliferating Mafia. The trip is a cover for a far more sinister objective – which then goes disastrously wrong…

Acquired second-hand (from the condition of the spine, 20th-hand) in a double edition with The Watchman.

As ridiculous and unbelievable as the plot was (Russian Mafia? Resurgence of Cold War politics?), this was a fun romp of a read. I really liked how the plot developments were driven by the characters’ actions and mistakes, rather than all sorts of unnecessary events being introduced all over the place.

The language was pretty colourful (although, it appears, no worse than that to which one is subjected on the 22:45 from Reading to Slough…) and littered with military jargon – although the author’s/publisher’s trick of using jargon and including a glossary, rather than the hideous construction that many similar books include, of spattering jargon about the place and using up 90% of the text explaining the terminology, at least meant that the reader could slide past the acronyms fairly painlessly.

The characters were pretty one-dimensional but with a racing plot they don’t really need any more development, and the collection of similar (and therefore amalgamat-able) personalities (expert SAS types) each with one or two distinctive features of physique and character meant that a multi-faceted group personality emerged, a very effective and economical device. The hero had doubts and failings, which again was a pleasant relief from so many SAS/CIA thrillers. One token woman, but an interesting character, not just a leggy blonde.

Lots of fun!

 

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