BACK IN OCTOBER 2017 I reviewed the latest book in a series which, given the sheer hell of having to make a choice, would be by my side as, like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Ben Gunn, I go slowly mad on my desert island. John Lawton has created the ultimate anti-hero in Frederick Troy. He is a brilliant copper, intelligent and fearless, but with the moral compass of a rattlesnake. The Troy novels bestride WWII and take us well into living memory (if you are as old as me, that is!)
FRIENDS AND TRAITORS didn’t disappoint, and Lawton’s portrait of the doomed, drunken and fatally flawed spy Guy Burgess was masterly. It seemed, however, that the novel came and went with little fanfare, but now Atlantic Books are re-releasing the novel with not so much a flourish of trumpets as an entire brass band. Their publicity people have been working overtime, and the pack which reached me is intriguing. My first reaction was to think that it’s about time that someone took John Lawton seriously, and recognised that he is one of a mere handful of living British writers who will, in the fullness of time, be considered ‘great.’
MY OCTOBER REVIEW is here, but if you want my feelings in a nutshell, then forgive me if I quote my own words.
“To put it simply, Lawton is a writer who transcends genre. His prose is subtle, stylish, pared back to the bone, but translucent, crystal clear. His portrayal of Britain and its place either side of WWII is masterly: he reflects the country’s disappointments, its uncertainties and how it seems to be stumbling, torchless, through a world of darkness quite beyond its comprehension. The Fred Troy novels lack the sequential timeline of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time cycle, but in every other sense they are its equal.”
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL TO SEE EACH IMAGE FULL SIZE