The King Maker: Lance's Thoughs
This book has a bit of everything in it. It's a legal thriller with one hell of a mystery and a whole lot of action and suspense, and if that wasn't enough, we get a great cast of characters. Major Sean Drummond is real, or at least comes across that way, to me. Brian Haig has created a believable, likeable guy that I could believe in and relate to. He's smart enough and tough enough to be the hero, yet he makes mistakes, is a lousy shot, and doesn't get the girl, in the end. Now that's my kind of guy (LOL). Imelda Pepperfield is an awesome character too and thankfully a staple in all of Brian Haig's books (with one exception). Her quick-witted, take no lip attitude makes you want to love her as well as run from her in fear for your life. I think everyone knows someone like this in real life, (although perhaps not on Imelda's level) which makes her such a welcome element to the book(s).
Sean Drummond's sense of humour is another great element of the book. Brian Haig has a unique use of the first person narrative that works so well. He brings us inside Sean's head with his conversational style narrative. It's similar, in style, to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, in that we get what the character says and what they are thinking, or what they would like to say. I think we all have that "Smart-Ass" sharp tongue that we often have to bite (I know I do, although I don't bite it as often as I should). It's so much fun to hear what Sean Drummond is thinking as well as what he is saying.
The fact that Sean Drummond didn't get the girl in the end, or the beginning or middle for that matter was a huge plus for me. We've talked about this with so many other books. The fact that the hero always ends up in the sack with the girl, or they fall deeply in love in the course of a day and we get the obligatory love scene, or romantic happy ending, this just doesn't come across as real. I certainly don't fall in love with attractive girls I run into in life, and I certainly never managed to sleep with all of them the day we met. Not that my wife would approve if I had, but you get my point. The fact that Sean doesn't get the girl makes him even more real, and when you consider the fact that the she in this case is described as looking like Sandra Bullock, you know I was rooting for him!
While I would say that the characters are the strong suit of the book, the story and plot were top notch as well. I can like a book based on either the strength of the characters or the strength of the story. Haig gives me both, which is why I have read all his work and will continue to do so. I was intrigued by the spy espionage element of the book. It felt so real. When you provide so much legit background and history of events and twist it with your own plot you almost forget you are reading fiction. The whole Cabal theory, the manipulation of governments and nations was so fascinating. The book wasn't just the legal thriller, of whether (So and So) was guilty of treason. It was this whole espionage thriller based on the entire cold war. Viktor Yurichenko's development as the Kingmaker was awesome. It felt real enough to make you wonder if a variation of this kind of thing actually happens. Mary Morrison was a good red herring. When it first looked like she was going to be the traitor, I was praying she wasn't. It was still way too early in the book to have it figured out. I liked that she still ended up being a bit of a heel and not just a swerve to steer us away from the real traitor.
The Kingmaker had a very rich deep plot that hit on all cylinders. The story moved at a good pace, it kept me guessing, thinking, laughing, and turning pages. This was one of those books you can get lost in. You forget you are turning pages and reading, time just slips by, before you know it your evening is half gone and you are 200 pages in. I have visual images in my head for most of the scenes of the book. I didn't just read it I experienced it. Brian Haig went from a guy I'd never heard of, to a guy with a well-earned spot on my top-ten list. Secret Sanction, his first novel, was excellent. I usually like to start with the first book in a series but Sanction deals with Bosnian war atrocities and is pretty strong. Mortal Allies, the second Drummond book, is my favourite thus far, but is almost 600 pages and I didn't want to scare anyone off. It deals with gays in the military and is off the charts awesome. Private Sector is Brian's latest and it too is excellent. If you liked this book only half as much as I did, you enjoyed it enough to warrant picking up these other great books as well.
My thanks to Brian Haig, for his wonderful books, and an even bigger thanks to my friend Jason, from Warner Books, for recommending him to me.
Till next time, Good Reading.
The King Maker: Brian Haig's Thoughs
Unfortunately I cannot find the feedback Brian Haig sent me. If anyone out there saved the original post and has a copy I woudl appreciate if you could email me a copy. I will continue to search and try to find a copy and get it posted ASAP.