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book Review: A Line in the Sand by Gerald Seymour

A Line in the Sand by Gerald Seymour is a page-turner, nail-biting espionage thriller. The novel in general highlights the after effects of being a spy on a foreign soil, most remarkably it is the past that comes back either to haunt or to snatch away the ballast and identity.


A decade ago, now Frank Perry, then Gevin Hughes, was a salesman for a chemical engineering firm based in England. On account of his business, he furtively uncovered the chemical weapons industry of Iran since, in real, he was a spy for the British government.

Because of his undercover work Iran had suffered an irreparable loss in the chemical weapons industry, subsequently reducing their killing powers.

Under the new identity of Frank Perry, he is gone into hiding at a seacoast village named Suffolk in England. He lives with his wife Merlyn, who too has dark past, and one son.

Iran wants to seek the revenge, so they send their deadliest assassin on the job. He is decoded as Anvil. He sets his footprints around a marshy land in the village. Well before Perry could understand and realize the things, the British security agency forms a ring around his home and his life to protect him from the same people whom he once uncovered.

Well, the novel is interesting and efficiently moves ahead with mandatory sweeps and adrenaline invoking actions. At times, the plot is tightly packed, otherwise cruises smoothly.

With the high security found in the village, people around him, including village folks and best of best friends, turn hostile to him. They take their security and space at stake. The society begins ostracizing them. That is the reality check for spies and the author has affirmatively asserted that a spy cannot live without being hunted or haunted.

The characterization and drawing of sub plots to the main events has been done with distinct, peculiar élan. One of the gripping points of the novel is the sense of realization, and the haunting past of life that seemed inseparable even during being underground. In the espionage thriller genre, this is the best novel by Seymour.

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