ASSASSIN is one of those books that has a real feel of a good, old-fashioned over the top, slightly lunatic thriller. One where the bad guys are particularly.. well villainous, slightly comical in some ways. Rich, obscenely rich, evil, powerful, bent on a grandiose evil scheme, the reasons for which don't really matter, the outcome potentially devastating for the free world - the good guys. Think the magnificently over the top James Bond type villains and add the luxury of print - words that can weave an even more unbelievable world than the visual can ever hope to achieve. Cue James Bond. The good guys in ASSASSIN are the archetypal good guys. Hawke is the wealthy, titled, chisel-jawed aristocrat (with the obligatory tragic childhood background). His band of merry men come from all walks of life - legal / slightly dodgy / ex-armed services / police / his butler. They all share their unswerving loyalty to Hawke and their determination to stop the bad guys .... at all costs.
Now there's nothing in these books (ASSASSIN is the second book in the series) that could possibly for one moment seem true to life, or possible, or believable or even vaguely realistic but that's not the point. ASSASSIN is part of that grand tradition that harks back to the good old days of boys own thriller style books - pure, utter, total and complete entertainment, escapism, excitement, jolly good fun.
Overly long - absolutely no doubt about that - there are some parts of the book that probably could have been cut out - but as a reader you can happily edit as you go and not miss the point. Lacking perhaps in a solid and believable plot - doesn't matter, when they are clinging to the side of mountain peaks in the lair of the bad guy, gliders akimbo - who cares that the whole thing is just silly at that point - it's fun, it's exciting. It's the Italian Job (the real one - the original), all the James Bond movies and Alfred Hitchcock's mysteries all rolled into one - with just a touch of romance. Not too much though. Hawke might have a heart but it's thwarted nicely. There's a world to be kept safe after all!