Brian Landers – Awakening Of Spies Review.
Over the past ten weeks I have rekindled my love for reading: finding entertainment in exciting page-turners whilst we stay at home. So, I was enthralled to receive a brand-new fabulous piece of fast-paced fiction by author Brian Landers, OBE (courtesy of Literally PR) – Awakening of Spies.
Aside from its extremely aesthetic seascape and white barred cover; each chapter seems to be an exciting story in itself that made me hungry to read more. Available from the 25th June, you’ll be sure to find yourself physically holding your breath, and willing – main character – Thomas Dylan success in his mysterious missions.
The best part is that this is only the first in a new series of espionage thriller novels – The Dylan Series. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next – Families of Spies – due for release on the 30th July!
Check out our Awakening Of Spies Review below:
Why are spy thrillers such a perennial favourite?
For most people it is the excitement of entering a secret world. But once in that world everyone wants something different. John le Carre novels couldn’t be further away from the bangs, boobs and bonks school of spy thrillers. Some spy writers offer gritty authenticity and the arcane tradecraft of espionage. Others go for glamour, guns and gadgets. Perhaps it’s the enormous range of books included under the heading spy thrillers that attracts so many people. But having said that I’m always surprised by the number of the people who tell me how much they’ve enjoyed one of my books and then add Of course I don’t normally read spy thrillers.
Your first book, Empires Apart was largely written while commuting to work. What’s your writing process?
Ideally I write on location, preferably somewhere sunny. I write the first couple of pages and very rarely change them. After that the story simply emerges. Quite often I will just be walking along when words pop into my mind and I dictate them into my phone. I have a rough idea of the main characters but new ones pop up and old ones are discarded. There’s quite a bit of rewriting as the plot and characters develop. I like a twist at the end but never know what it’s going to be when I start.
You have worked all over the world – how did this influence your writing?
The obvious answer is that it gave me material. The opening chapter of Awakening of Spies for example was written in the cafe in Buenos Aires where the scene is set. More importantly it gave me insights into the little things that make places distinctive. I really do try to make my stories reflect the local character. American humour is quite different to ours. Italian attitudes to food are totally alien to most British people. Attitudes to hierarchies at work are very different in France or Germany. I think if you took one of my novels and changed the location it simply wouldn’t be the same story. And of course Intelligence agencies inevitably reflect their own national characteristics which creates a tension between say British and US Intelligence that it’s fun to explore.
How did you develop the character of Thomas Dylan?
It’s become conventional wisdom that thriller heroes must have some sort of harrowing backstory to make them interesting – they’re reformed alcoholics or they’ve lost a leg or they’re having a messy divorce. That’s not real life. No Intelligence agency would hire most of the misfits that populate a lot of spy fiction. I live near MI6 in London: I dare anyone to look at the office workers coming out of Vauxhall station each morning and tell me which ones are going to work at MI6. I wanted Thomas to be similarly inconspicuous. He is simply an unconscious amalgam of hundreds of people I had worked with over the years. The genesis of his wife and fellow spy Julia was different.
I’ve started book 5 in the Dylan series but for the first time I’ve really hit a writer’s block. I may finish it. Or I may start again. Or I may even write that book on Trump and Putin if I could find a publisher.
Enjoy our Awakening Of Spies Review? For more of our book reviews, check out our men’s lifestyle editorial page.