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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Death in the Kingdom

Another title from Monsoon Books in Singapore, this time Death in The Kingdom (ISBN 978-981-05-8492-4), by Andrew Grant. Initially I presumed that this was author Grant’s first book as no others are mentioned, but apparently it is his eighth. Little is divulged about the author, other than the fact he has been a bodyguard, roadie and a small arms expert. This is good, as his hero, British secret agent Daniel Swann, needs lots of arms! Small and large!
Grant does not leave his readers guessing, as right from the first page of the prologue, bringing in two of the main characters straight away, Tuk Tuk Song, the leader of the Thai underworld and Choy Lee, his bodyguard. The relationship between Daniel Swann and the unsavoury duo is also spelled out on that first page. They have much in common, with both having a score to settle, and a communal desire to see Swann killed.
The British Secret Service has sent Swann to Phuket to retrieve a lead container in the sunken wreck of a WWII British submarine. Swann has been told to get the box, do not open it and do not ask why.
It also turns out that the British submarine went to the bottom with a Japanese freighter, with which it had been rendezvousing. And this was 1944 at which time the British and the Japanese were on opposite sides. Curiouser and curiouser, thinks Daniel Swann! However, being an advocate that his function was to ‘do or die, and not ask the reasons why’ he arrived back in Thailand.
After his first orders were carried out, Swann finds that there are many groups that are interested in his metal box, or interested in him, and being a killer, despite being government backed, there are many who would like to see Daniel Swann meeting a slow and sticky end.
The book really is a cracking yarn, and whilst some parts will make the mind boggle, nothing surprises this reviewer as far as the CIA and the Dirty Tricks Department is concerned. There is enough in the factual press, so one should expect the fictional press to be similarly enraptured.
If you have spent some time in the military, the accurate description of the weaponry will lend much weight to the plot.
The twists and turns and different characters keep to the pace of the book, and it is almost four different books, featuring Secret Agent Swann, the hero who is painted in very human terms. For me, some of the sex was a little gratuitous, and certainly did not add to the thrill of the storyline, because this book is certainly a thriller, packed with suspense, bad guys who are truly bad by the plane-load and some bad guys who are really good guys, way deep down inside - but you have to dig deep. With an RRP of B. 450 Death in the Kingdom will have all those who enjoy a good thriller asking for more. According to the publishers, Andrew Grant is already writing the next Daniel Swann epic. Look for it, but read this one first!