I am extremely grateful to Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for a copy of ‘Escape to Perdition’ by James Silvester in return for an honest review.
In modern day Prague, the intrigues and machinations of the past and the Velvet Revolution still reverberate. As reunification between the Czech and Slovak republics looks increasingly likely, it is difficult to know whom to trust and just who is in charge. Peter Lowe is equally as duplicitous as those controlling him and as his missions become increasingly difficult and personal, his own life starts to spiral from his control.
Initially I wasn’t sure I was going to like ‘Escape to Perdition’ as I found tuning in to the unfamiliar political setting took a couple of chapters. I wanted to research names and details to see what was based in fact and what was fiction. However, James Silvester writes with a skill that draws in the reader and it soon didn’t matter where fact and fiction were blurred because what I had in front of me was excellent storytelling.
The plot is scarily plausible and disturbing, with twists that leave the reader reeling right up to the end when the title of the novel finally becomes fully clear. Having recently visited Prague, I wish I’d read ‘Escape to Perdition’ first to give me an added layer of perspective and I enjoyed picturing some of the settings used that are so evocatively presented. I also think James Silvester has incredible skill in portraying the rawness of emotion for his characters.
With Peter Lowe as a murderous political puppet, he initially seems little more than a drunk rueing his past, but as the narrative progresses the reader begins to feel he is a man ‘more sinned against than sinning’ and to empathise with him as someone of deep emotions and complexities. Without spoiling the plot, I was reduced to tears by Peter’s role towards the end of the novel.
Although I’m not sure if I enjoyed ‘Escape to Perdition’ as its themes are too true to life in dealing with love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, guilt and redemption so that I found it quite disturbing and unsettling, I also found it a totally absorbing read. At times I felt almost complicit in actions I wouldn’t like to be part of and this is down to the clever intensity of the writing. However, I’m so glad I’ve read it, even if it has caused me to question the balance of power in modern day Europe and to wonder what may really be going on behind the scenes.
Readers who enjoy intelligently written, tautly plotted and disturbingly executed political thrillers will love ‘Escape to Perdition’ and may well find themselves affected by it as did I.
‘Escape to Perdition’ is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book editions
It can also be obtained direct from the publisher