For me the concept that the military from the USA, UK and other countries, as described in Westwind by Ian Rankin, would conspire to bring down the elected governments of the day is an anathema, however, we only have to look into history and what happened in German pre WW2 and the African sub-continent and its various countries and we can see parallels.
As an ex-soldier who has served in the UK and Germany, Canada and South America I could never conceive of a time in which the British Armed Services would allow this to happen and where they would give up their allegiance to the Crown (not the government).
The characters are reasonably well-drawn, but the main character Martin Hepton has questions to be asked. How come a computer nerd, who does not seem to have any background in intelligence apart from watching a computer screen and interpreting pictures, suddenly develop a 6th sense in being able to handle a prime assassin?
Various other characters are brought into the story to add pace and distance, but the ‘badies’ are somewhat predictable as are the various stage sets and locations.
It is also interesting to look at age-old secret service writer’s ploy – namely that of levels within levels of the British Secret Service all looking over their shoulders to check who is watching whom!
And not to be forgotten is the age-old commentary on a person’s position in society – what university did one go to, which service did you belong to etc.
However, even with all these thoughts and reservations, I would still recommend this book. It is a good thriller, well crafted and written, and it does pose questions – could it happen now?
To quote Wikipedia, Ian James Rankin OBE DL FRSE FRSL (born 28 April 1960) is a Scottish crime writer, best known for his Inspector Rebus novels… His range is prolific, from the series with Rebus, to stand-alone novels to collaboration on opera, to short stories.
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