It is a book written by The Hugh Laurie. Do I need to say anything more before you run off to get your hands on “The Gun Seller ”?
OK, here’s the deal:
Thomas Lang was a captain in Scotts Guards, now acting as a hired bodyguard to people who think they need one. On one such assignment, he is offered a fortune to kill an American businessman living in London. The honest man that he is, Lang not only refuses the commission, but also tries to save Alexander Woolf. Doesn’t turn out as he expected though, and now Lang is in trouble with the British Ministry of Defence, and shot by Woolf’s daughter.
That is when he realises that he is right in the middle of a conspiracy involving a major weapons manufacturer, corrupt officials and international intelligence agencies. Now the only way for Lang to save himself and the woman he loves is to infiltrate a terrorist cell and carry out a sinister agenda.
Being a spoof, the story has all the ingredients of a typical spy action novel: an honest but down-on-luck hero, with military training so that he can pull of miraculous saves and amazing feats. He cannot meet a female of the species without falling in love with her or sleeping with her- a damsel in distress/femme fatale, and a beautiful, steady girl for the hero. A conspiracy involving the usual suspects – intelligence agencies and military-industrial complex, with layers behind hidden layers. All those ingredients make for a very nice story.
But what makes the novel even better is the tone of narration by Lang. Often cynical, the story takes off on a tangent whenever he is tense or confused, producing rambling results. What is even more crazy is anyone who have read any serious spy novel will be completely familiar with the tone of certain scenes and descriptions (like of bike chases and weapons). If you want to visualize the final results, it is like if P. G. Wodehouse would have written Jason Bourne stories. After all, Laurie did play Bertie Wooster and Wooster-like characters with aplomb.
Oh, and don’t forget that innocuous two-line non-titled epilogue hidden behind the last page, the two lines pushing the spoof to an entirely different level, making you wonder if you (and Lang) ever got the real story behind the scenes.
And have I ever mentioned how much I like well-placed cricket analogies and metaphors in a novel?
P.S. Thanks The Park Bench for pointing me to this book.
Quote of the Day:
My brain was scrambled to the point where you usually have to summon the waiter and ask for a refund, and it would have made more sense for me to be asking her how I felt.
- Thomas Lang
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