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Man on Ice Hardcover – Import, 31 Jan 2018
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About the Author
Humphrey Hawksley is a foreign correspondent for the BBC. He has reported on key trends, events and conflicts from all over the world. He is the author of seven previous fast-paced political thrillers.
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The US and Russia are separated by a slim slip of land and water called Bering Strait. This border is not policed or marked. The virtual border is known by what is called the Ice Curtain. The author developed an interest in this border and decided to use it as a backdrop for his story. The story takes the fight to new territory. The plot is fresh and intriguing. The way in which the Russians seep into American territory is actually quite genius. The author treats the reader to lots and lots of action. He treats the reader to lots of blood, violence and dirty tricks. This is an excellent read if you are in the mood for a suspenseful journey through interactions between warring superpowers.
Rake is your typical scout. He vows to protect his community, by all means necessary. He has sworn allegiance to the country and his people. The author has not shied away from showing a little bit of his personal interactions. This adds new dimensions to the character. The dialogue between characters is well crafted and interesting. It gives life to the interactions. The dialogue throws the reader right into the thick of it. It accords personality to each character. Vitruk is delightfully confusing. On one hand, he is out to get the American government and is willing to put the people of the island in the crosshairs. On the other, he is offering vitamins and medical care to the hostages.
While it is entirely possible, the revelation of Akna’s baby daddy is a little sickening. This is not a criticism but rather a depiction of exactly how far the author can push the envelope. He also gives the reader into the relationship between Rake and Carrie. He lets the reader into the mind of each. Allowing the reader to see how each sees the other. This allows the reader to understand the quintessence of both Rake and Carrie. One is able to understand the person beneath the strong personality. The author’s description of everything else is vivid and apt. It helps the reader build a proper mental picture of the situation.
This is not your regular thriller. This is not the usual America vs Russia story. This is a
Thrillers like this normally don’t capture me, but I thought Humphrey was able to craft a truly suspenseful and satisfying work. The location is absolutely unforgiving, between the cold and ice that threatens Ozenna every step of the way, along with the human elements that wish to stop him. The environmental dangers were a great addition to this story and taking place in the Bering Strait was a unique enough setting, that most readers may take away some new knowledge of this area of the US.
The political intrigue worked to some degree, although the book may have worked a little bit better without those parts since it seemed to slow the action. The maybe unconscious allusion to current events may seem on the nose to some readers, but Russia and the United States’ contentious relationship is nothing new.
The characters were pretty well rounded, despite being partial tropes of the genre. Rake and Carrie’s relationship was satisfying to witness and it carried the main core of this story along with Ozenna’s obvious connection to his home. The inclusion of Stephanie Lucas, as the British ambassador, who gives the reader an outside looking in view of the situation in the US. It’s an interesting, but great choice, since it helps bring out some of the international pressure that is felt throughout this sequence of the book.
Man on Ice reads like Tom Clancy meets The Bourne Identity. Hawksley shows that he is no stranger to the thriller genre and presents a classic and well-plotted narrative. It’s an edge of your seat read and with being under 250 or so pages, you can read it in roughly an afternoon.