I think of Tom Bradby as the guy who reads the 10 o’clock news on ITV and sometimes says daft introductions, the newsreader who managed to blag himself a ticket to the Royal Wedding – and then the journalist who got the Harry and Meghan documentary scoop! But I didn’t realise he was also a published author – so when I saw this on Netgalley I thought I’d try it.
Here’s the blurb:
“The world is on the brink of crisis.
The Cold War is playing out once more on the global stage.
And governments will do whatever it takes to stay at the top . . .
To those who don’t really know her, Kate Henderson’s life must seem perfectly ordinary. But she is in fact a senior MI6 officer, who right now is nursing the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb.
Kate’s most recent mission has yielded the startling intelligence that the British Prime Minister has cancer – and that one of the leading candidates to replace him may be a Russian agent of influence.
Up against the clock to uncover the Russian mole, Kate risks everything to get to the truth. But with her reputation to uphold, her family hanging by a thread and a leadership election looming, she is quickly running out of options, and out of time.”
This isn’t a genre I read often – although is a TV type I would watch frequently – and it very much felt like watching something akin to Spooks.
The main character is Kate – and I admit to thinking it odd that a male author wrote the lead character as female (which I realise is ridiculous, as I never said that about JK Rowling and Harry Potter) – but he does get the working Mum / Mum to teenagers guilt down brilliantly (interestingly in the credits he says his wife helps write his books – so perhaps that explains it?)
The book feels very ‘of this time’ – Russian interference in foreign elections / personal lives of politicians being exposed etc etc! I suspect that Tom’s establishment and journalistic connections means a lot of this is very true to life!
You are rooting for Kate throughout – and a whole plethora of different events happen that would stretch the sanity of anyone – but she pushes through.
Her relationships with her family and also work colleagues are explored – and the interconnections are very interesting.
The ending feels a bit quick and forced – and I would have liked to have known exactly how the characters all got to that point – but I suppose it leaves you wanting more, which isn’t a bad thing?
Overall it was a good, fast paced read – and I really enjoyed it. I could imagine it being a TV drama. And I’ll definitely look at Tom Bradby’s back catalogue when I fancy reading this genre again.