Christmas Book Choices

The Suicide Club made two appearances in Books of the Year selections last weekend. It was Tam Dalyell‘s choice in Scotland on Sunday [7 December]. ‘The Suicide Club is a thriller, and one of those compelling reads that, once started, cannot be put down’, he wrote, ‘but it is more than that. Set in the momentous late summer and autumn of 1917, it is drawn from all-too-real events. The cast includes Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, David Lloyd George, and crucially, Brigadier General John Charteris, director of military intelligence. Just one among the many of several moral mazes that gripped me was Williams’ insight into the way in which raw intelligence could be twisted to suit the whims of men in powerful positions. Another was loyalty – to the Commmander-in-Chief? To the government of the day? To the Empire?’

While, the day before, Allan Massie wrote in The Scotsman [6 December]: ‘Andrew Williams has established himself as a master of the intelligent political/historical thriller. The Suicide Club, set partly at Field Marshal Haig’s headquarters in 1917 and partly in German occupied Beligum, is his best novel yet: gripping and disturbing.’

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