Books: Buchan trends in Peckham

Remembrance Day by Henry Porter Orion pounds 12.99

You cannot hope

to bribe or twist,

thank God! the

British journalist.

So wrote Humbert Wolfe. You can, however, seduce him (or her), with the prospect of oodles of lolly, into having a go at writing thrillers. Frederick Forsyth and Robert Harris have made the transition from the hacks' trade to millionairedom with panache. Now Henry Porter, freelance journalist and British editor of Vanity Fair, is having a go.

He takes to the genre as if born to it in this tale of terrorism among the Irish and their vengeful, British freebooting foes. He does so, however, not so much in the manner of Forsyth or Harris as in the simplistic goodies- and-baddies style of an author who wrote thrillers much earlier in the century, John Buchan. Accordingly, his goodies are goodies with a vengeance.

Our hero, an Irish molecular biologist named Constantine Lindow, is a "good-looking, slender man just under six feet tall". He is very brave.

The heroine, Mary (who would not have made it into the anti-semitic Buchan's fictions, since she is part-Jewish, as well as part-American for the transatlantic market), is "quite, quite beautiful". They indulge in intermittent bouts of sex, rather bold by Buchan's standards but quite chaste by today's criteria.

The villain, a former British army officer who has turned rogue after being involved in a terrorist bomb incident in which Constantine and his IRA brother Eamonn were involved some years previously, is as dastardly as they come: "probably the most dangerous assassin at large in the world today". Can he be foiled in his atttempt to commit an atrocity to end all atrocities? Guess.

While Porter's characters are elementarily Buchanesque, their methods are decidedly of our cyberage, and Porter demonstrates a familiarity with state-of-the-art technology which is either the real thing or else a convincing spoof. Anyhow, he bewildered me with his detailed descriptions of terrorism by e-mail and computers and counter-terrorism achieved by breaking codes with the aid of genetic biology. There are also useful tips (pointless in my case) on how to make your hair appear to recede for a phoney passport photo.

Porter's style is, according to taste, either crisp or stilted. He injects insufficient humour, though shows he is capable of a good joke when so inspired, as when he refers to "a French film which starred Stephane Audran and seemed to be set entirely in restaurants"; maybe his true metier lies in movie criticism.

On the other hand, I grew tired of his frequent resort to the lazy novelist's device of breaking up blocks of dialogue with reference to the eating habits of his characters, who interrupt their conversations by folding napkins, draining caffe latte, brushing away cappuccino froth, biting radishes and toying with cubes of grilled cheese. Come to think of it, a great deal of this novel seems to be set in restaurants.

It does, however, move into the wider world for a man-hunt in the wilds of Maine and a nail-biting climax in, of all places, Peckham. The book ends with a funeral. (There are no weddings, though there is a marriage break-up involving the goodie police officer, Commander Forbes, who allies himself with Lindow and foils conspiracies in the Cabinet Office.) On the other hand, there is a happy ending of sorts, with hopes of further romance in the book's final sentence. Can we be in for a sequel? Is Lindow Henry Porter's Richard Hannay ? Now read on.

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders