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The Aquila Project
Inspector Box series #5

by Norman Russell

      I always look forward to the next book by Norman Russell, an author who has already resurrected the gothic novel and is now writing thrillers set in the murky world of late Victorian espionage. DI Cox and his trusty sidekick DS Knollys have their work cut out for them trying to avert a Polish terrorist intent on blowing up the Tower Bridge on its opening day. But surely one little homemade bomb cannot do this? It looks like the incident is part of a larger picture, and Colonel Kershaw, the enigmatic Head of Secret Intelligence, is soon recruiting them to find out what it is all about. Oh, and there is a role for Vanessa Drake in this as well - impersonating a housemaid at the home of one of the conspirators.

Maybe it is not a readerís main criterion for selecting a historical novel but this one (indeed, this whole series) has great topical appeal. Fans of TV shows like 24 and Spooks will thrill to the same sort of story, only set over a hundred years in the past. Bomb tossing terrorists, chases across Europe, sinister secret organisations and the covert thrill of working for a top secret intelligence service are all in here. This is the foundation for the First World War, and much of the history has repercussions today so it is a novel that has wider appeal than merely those who usually read historical fiction. Most of all it is a novel with great human interest and plenty of lively characters doing interesting things at a cracking pace; quintessential Russell in fact. One to read slowly and savor like a fine wine.

The Book

Robert Hale
31 October 2007
Thriller [1894, London and Poland]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007