Awakening of Spies by Brian Landers introduces Thomas Dylan, an unlikely spy. It’s not his day job. But someone at MI6 decides to send him on an important mission in Brazil to recover a US Tech they would rather have. Though, why Dylan? Why not a seasoned spy who knows what he’s doing?
The plot is simple and details Dylan’s adventures as he tries to track down ‘The Griffin’. Both pursuer and pursued, he continuously is trying to figure out which of the people he encounters are really who they say they are. As well as which ones can or can’t be trusted. The narrative is written in the first person, which works well, as we hear the thoughts of the protagonist and see how he changes from the start of the book to the end. We see Dylan progress from a newbie spy to a much more mature operator, whose rite of passage includes killing as a duty under his new profession.
This is my first spy thriller and it was an amazing way to enter the word of spies. ‘Family of spies’ is the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it. This book follows Thomas Dylan, a new spy, who has good instincts despite his lack of training. The novel is full of research and authentic scenes of stolen secrets, less flashy ways of murder and gripping action scenes. At times I did struggle with some of the names and the acronyms. However, it did give me insight into what a Department of intelligence looks like in different countries. Who knows what I could do with this information?
The book’s terminology and detailed information on the interworking of different intelligent services at time did confuse me, yet the author always explained everything, ensuring the explanation was woven into the plot. It was natural and made the plot more credible which made the novel more interesting as it made me wonder has this happened in real life. It made me relish the twists and turns that occurred. What made each chapter more special was the last sentence. It increased the excitement. And the pacing is steady, which is frustrating as it feeds you bits and pieces of information slowly.
The one thing that makes this book memorable is the protagonist. He’s believable, who doesn’t succeed at his first mission or turns out to be a prodigy that can succeed at everything. He fails at the start and we as readers see him grow as a person and a spy. There are no crazy gadgets, fast cars or endless willing women; instead the book is down to earth, with characters who sound real. We can’t relate to them, as I’m pretty sure I’ve never murdered someone in self-defense or was in a hotel full of agents or the enemy I’m supposed to be stealing from. Yet the author lets us grow with the characters and connect to them – which is not good considering the deaths that occur – and cheer for them when they succeed.