Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills by William S Young
|Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills by William S Young
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: The second in a Scottish thriller series featuring a group of MI6 agents is a highly satisfying and pacy read with sparkling dialogue and lots of action. Perfect for a winter evening.
|Date: November 2016
It's 1962 and Frank Mulholland and Tom Sommerville are two MI6 agents posted to the Scottish Highlands. Fresh from a recent mission involving Russian agents and IRA gunrunners in which they thwarted an attempt on US president John F Kennedy's life, they are enjoying life at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel with friends - the rest of their MI6 team, members of the local constabulary, and the Irish girls who work at the hotel. But their downtime is shortlived...
... asked to a nearby naval base to consult on the death of a guard, Mulholland and Sommerville notice some strange connections. Why does Marilyn, a secretary at the base, so strongly resemble a female Russian agent they thought had been killed? What connection does Georgie, a friend of the Irish girls, have with Sir Bernard Harkin, another man killed in the previous mission? And what is going on at the gold mine?
This is all you're getting because I'm not giving it all away. Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills follows on from a previous novel but it is fine as a standalone. Rest assured that a satisfying spy thriller follows. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As befits a spy thriller, there is plenty of action and enough plot twists to shake a stick at. Young gets right into the Cold War era feel and explores a time when the nation was reeling from spy scandals and gripped by the Red Menace behind the Iron Curtain. He also looks at the threat the IRA was posing at the same time and, between the two, draws together a thriller of epic proportions.
There's a large cast of characters to maintain and this is done well - each bringing his or her own perspective to the proceedings. But it's led largely by the two Londoners Mulholland and Sommerville. These two MI6 agents have an excellent relationship with one another and their easy back-and-forth makes them attractive characters to root for. And, when things are tight, as they often are, Mulholland and Sommerville never let the reader down.
I loved the affectionate and familiar descriptions of landscape. The Scottish Highlands really come alive in the pages. From the splendid isolation to the harsh weather, Bridge of Orchy is as much a character as any of the people. And I'd like to give a shout-out to the dialogue, too - in particular, the lively and vivid Scottish dialect. It was perfect.
Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills is one for readers who enjoy a good and pacy spy thriller, particularly one in a Cold War setting. It's fast and furious and, while serious, never takes itself too seriously. The action takes centre stage but this book also makes room for a wry joke or two to relieve the tension. And, like all good secret agents, Mulholland and Sommerville manage to fit some romance into the mix. See? All the ingredients in place. What more could you want?
If the Cold War period is of interest to you, you might also enjoy The Girl in Berlin by Elizabeth Wilson in which central character Jack becomes an accidental spy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills by William S Young at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills by William S Young at Amazon.com.
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Ross Newton said:
Loved the first book and this one is no different. Well done to the author William. He's managed to capture the suspense and intrigue of a good spy story, incorporating the Scottish culture. Looking forward to the next book!