Slipping into Shadow Hardcover – Large Print, Jun 1999
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|Hardcover, Large Print, Jun 1999||
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About the Author
Craig Thomas gained his MA at University College, Cardiff in 1967. He is the author of 16 bestselling novels. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
SLIPPING INTO SHADOW is a mixed bag of adventure with crooked politicians and businesspeople; tyrannical military leaders; spies gone bad; and, of course, the hero with not one, but two, damsels in distress. Reader Stephen Thorne is wonderful as he comfortably presents this cast of assorted characters. Dialects range from Brit to Aussie, Yank to Oriental. Each is distinct in character. Perhaps Thorne's greatest strength is his ability to match tone, pace and emotion to the situation at hand, providing an extra boost to this very good presentation. T.J.M. © AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Where we last left Patrick Hyde, he had moved back home to Australia with his girlfriend Ros. Ros is becoming sucessful with her business, and Hyde is helping out Australian Intelligence involving a drugs ring and Burma. When things get rough he goes back to England to see if his old boss Kenneth Aubrey can help him out. But Aubrey has his own problems, and just maybe their problems are connected. Craig also brought back some sub-plots from his previous novel, A Different War, particularly those involving British MP Marion Pyott and David Winterborne. Like in A Different War, there's a lot of political/economical things going on that can be hard to follow at times, because it's somewhat boring, but it all eventually makes sense.
In the end, it's a pretty good Craig novel. Hyde is always fun to follow on his adventures, and we even get some quick appearances from Godwin and Cass, characters from previous novels, even if they were mere cameos. I also found Marion's story easier to follow this time around than in A Different War. The novel of course includes the recurring "man hunt" plot device which Craig has used masterfully in many of his books.
I'd love to see Craig publish more novels, whether it's what Hyde and Aubrey are up to these days (if Aubrey hasn't died yet, he must be getting up there), or even setting the novels in the past, which I think would be a great route to go with and could open up so many possibilites. But if that day never comes, then we still have eighteen novels from Craig Thomas to revisit from time to time. Thanks Craig, and see ya 'round...
Still Hyde to me is a much more developed and relatable, if not likeable character. And a few years went by after reading Playing with Cobras, The Last Raven, and some others, I was happy to see there was a book out there that I hadn't read yet that would continue the story of Hyde. The book was Slipping into Shadows.
After reading it, I have to say I was a little disappointed. Craig Thomas' writing is still at a high standard, and the story was maybe more intriguing to me than some of the others, but I think I felt let down in Hyde himself. It's a good book, well-worth the read especially if you are familiar with the characters and I would recommend it...but.....
**** MINOR SPOILER AHEAD ****
Generally, I felt that Hyde was kinda like a lame duck for a large part of the story. His actions didn't seem to move the story forward much of the time. It's as if things were happening to him and he was reacting rather than instigating many of the events. In the beginning he seems beat down by the world and almost resolved to failure. His girlfriend Ros is a much bigger part of the story, and not just as a damsel in distress thankfully. But including her to such a high extent pulled a lot of the focus away from Hyde. Not to give anything away, but if this truly is the last book in the Hyde saga, I'm disappointed that this is how he will Slip into the Shadows...
WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT:
"Shadow" starts us about a decade after the Burma Junta. Most politicians and businessmen favor normalizing trade with Burma (now Myanmar) even if that means overlooking the Junta's more pointed brutality, and especially if that means exercising different forms of brutality against their own politicians who oppose the Junta. Burma aside, Thomas starts "Shadow" pretty much where his latter books left off, with a coteries of his heroes confronting the evil David Winterbourne, head of a global corporate hydra that seems to have tentacles in all that is evil in the world - from laundering drug money to east-European Telecomms. David is currently incarcerated for crimes he committed in "A Different War" (featuring Mitchell Gant, hero of "Firefox"). Actually, David's convictions cover a laughably insubstantial fraction of his crimes, and his prison amounts to house arrest in some Tony manor while waiting to resume control of Winterbourne. His company remains as strong as ever, poised to conclude a deal with the Burmese Junta (with the blessings of red China) that will develop the Mekong River into a huge commercial complex, and turn Winterbourne itself into a vast washing machine for the profits of industrial heroin production.
Getting in the way of this endeavor is Patrick Hyde, former SAS hero, who has a growing personal gripe against Winterbourne owing to their murder of one of his Burmese assistants. Marian Pyott, beautiful and headstrong MP who wants to keep her colleagues from cooperating with the junta in Myanmar, also gets ensnared in the more violent aspects of the controversy when she receives something that could end foreign support for the Junta. Thomas throws in Marian's American lover (a politician, evil, morally weak and not Marian's intellectual superior; did I forget to say that he's American?), Hyde's chubby girlfriend (Ros, useless as ever; you'd think Thomas would have given her some spunk for her final bow), Ralph, David's self-hating brother, the Junta, Aung Su Kyii (sp?), and Chinese generals who explain how they run the show.
"Did you get that thing I sent you?"
"Shadow" revolves around "That Thing" - a typical Thomas plot device - which the hero must get to the other good guys. That Thing in "Firefox", was the MiG-31; proof of Soviet "Star Wars" weapons was That Thing in "Winter Hawk"; proof vindicating Kenneth Aubrey of charges of being a Soviet mole was That Thing in "The Bear's Tears" (aka Lion's Run). I'm not going to say what That Thing in "Shadow" is, though suffice it to say, that you sort of expect its imminent arrival, and it doesn't so much surprise you with its shock as annoy you with its lack of punctuality. Unlike other books however, That Thing in "Shadow" doesn't have the clear cut power of its predecessors in other books. You wonder just what good it would do in anybody's hands, and it's arguable that it should be considered pivotal at all that such that the bad guys raise hell with anybody who's seen it. Rather than a compelling plot element for the thriller or message aspect of "Shadow", Thomas relies on That Thing for the sole purpose of bringing his protagonists into Burma.
It isn't long before Thomas arrives at the centerpiece of his story: the extended chase sequence, in this case through the verdant (and well depicted) wilds of Burma. Thomas so successfully immerses you into his lush Burmese setting that you almost forget the thinness of the plot. Without direction or clear goal, "Shadow" staggers through the jungle until the author decides its time for each of the parallel plots to come to an end (fiery for one, explosive for the other) before a vague coda that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the characters accomplished.
From what I can understand the main character (I can't even remeber his name!) is assigned to protect a landowner in Penang from a Burmese hotel group. Beyond that I don't have a clue what the plt was meant to be. This really is a terrible book and I'm sorry I wasted my time on trying to figure it out.