Day two of Hardisty week and time for my review of book two in the Claymore Straker series, The Evolution of Fear. I fell in love with this series when I read Reconciliation for the Dead and have been loving having the opportunity to catch up with Claymore in the books that I missed as part of our Year of Orenda. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Betrayed. A price on his head. It’s easy to survive, until they threaten her too…
Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom.
As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit.
Gripping, exhilarating, and above all, frighteningly realistic, The Evolution of Fear is a startling, eye-opening read that demands the question: how much is truth, and how much is fiction?
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to review this book without sounding like a stuck record and telling you about just how great an author Paul Hardisty is. He is, and hopefully by the end of this week you’ll have that impression and also a desire to go and check out some of his work. But none of this helps me write this review.
We pick up in The Evolution of Fear more or less where the Abrupt Physics left off, a few months apart maybe. Claymore Straker is in hiding, lying low after the shocking conclusion to his prior adventures, if adventures is even the right word. There is a hefty price on his head and he is the enemy of both business and state so there are few people left in the world he feels he can trust. When his safety is compromised he begins to doubt that even that friendship can be trusted. This leads to a very taught, very deadly opening to the novel, one which tells us a lot about Straker and his frame of mind, but also his absolute devotion to Rania.
This time the action takes us on a high stakes sea crossing which adds its own layer of tension and jeopardy, through to the streets of Istanbul and Cyprus as Straker seeks to find Rania. Rania has been on the trail of a story of corruption, one linked to the booming tourist industry on Cyprus, but that also has the potential for devastating environmental impact upon the country. This time it is not linked to expulsion of pollutants into the environment, more man’s desire to put their needs ahead of that of the species native to the islands, the lack of consideration for the impact upon turtle colonies and breeding grounds if their beaches and oceans are taken over by high priced resorts and jet skis.
Once again the action is rooted in truth, and while the story may be fantastical, full of action threat and intrigue, the basic premise – the growth of tourism, the impact upon turtle populations and the creation of a national park in Cyprus – are all island fact and not island fiction. What Paul Hardisty has done in creating a tense, emotional, and thrilling action story around this is absolutely brilliant. It is really hard to determine just how much of this is actually fiction, the tale so grounded in reality, so authentic in tone and pace that you can believe every single word.
You have the balance of the quiet moments of reflection, where Straker considers all that he has lost, sacrificed even, in the course of his life and of the principals he is fighting to uphold. But then you have those moments of explosive action, of absolute tension where although little appears to happen you are right on the edge of your seat. The author is a master of making you juggle a myriad of emotions in a short space of time, from excitement to anger to shock and finally to the verge of tears as we finally see the true cost of all that Straker and his friends go through. Straker is not just on a mission but a journey, one which we are on with him and I am more than happy to have taken that long and dangerous road too.
Full of action, emotion and a depth of understanding that can only have come from a true passion for the subject matter, Paul Hardisty has created another brilliant action thriller with true heart, one I absolutely recommend you read. I love this series.
About the Author
Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer,
hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.
Author Links: Twitter
Books by Paul E. Hardisty