Monday, July 13, 2015
By Bear Grylls
Published by Orion Books, June 2015
I am only just managing to haul my jaw back up from the floor after finishing this book.
At the start of the story, Will Jaeger is a man whose life is on the line, being tortured in a prison in a small African state. He is rescued by Raff, an old friend and Army colleague and the two of them only just manage to escape alive.
It really is a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire, however, as when Jaeger finally returns to Britain he finds one of his colleagues - and a dear friend - has died in suspicious circumstances which smack of a cover-up. Why did Smithy have a mysterious symbol carved into him, which wasn't there before his death? Nobody has any answers until Will starts doing some serious research, which raises even more questions than it answers.
To say Jaeger has a troubled past is an understatement, and when a dream of a job opportunity is proposed to him, involving danger, excitement and the chance to make a mind-blowing historical discovery as well as a hefty amount of money, he takes it with both hands, but what starts out as an adventure rapidly becomes a desperate fight for survival in an inhospitable South American jungle, with a very mixed team of people.
Who can he trust, if anyone? What is the secret behind the enormous German plane hidden in the rainforest? Who is determined to stop his expedition in its tracks? And why is everything seemingly bound up with the exploits of his grandfather in a top secret Unit during the Second World War?
A coup in Africa. A miraculous escape. A mysterious family death and the abduction of his wife and son, several years previously. An Amazonian tribe with blowpipes living in a forest with deadly giant predatory spiders. Double agents, Tracking devices, codes and espionage, hallucinogenic drugs, tribal bonding rituals. Add in crocodiles, piranhas and a Nazi plane whose cargo has killed the forest around it, and it seems as though it would end up as slapstick, but it works - and it works very well indeed. I did anticipate part of what might happen, but there were lots of fascinating twists and turns in the plot, many of which left me glued to the pages.
This is Bear Grylls' first novel, and he has made a very impressive start. I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens to Will Jaeger next!