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.

Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Reach for the sky: there are around 250 new buildings of 20-plus storeys planned for London alone, some 80 per cent of them residential
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
filmReview: The ingenious film will intrigue, puzzle and trouble audiences by turns
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower