If, like me, you grew up on a diet of Len Deighton, Robert Ludlum and John Le Carre novels, there is a chance you're a bit of a fan of fast paced, military, espionage style novels. DEFENDER OF THE FAITH is a recent entry in the what is rapidly becoming a large pool of choice for Australian readers.
Set within our geographical and political sphere, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH introduces readers to Alex Morgan, special forces operative, good bloke, and all round bit of a hero. The action in this book is really very realistic, and it's not difficult to believe highly informed by the author's own background. There are some good, albeit somewhat expected characterisations, right down to the beautiful blonde love interest, the strong jawed, very Australian main character, and a series of nicely evil villains lead by a mysterious, excellent at disguises archetypal baddy type, all glowering evil genius and callous malevolence.
As this is a thriller there are some givens that readers must expect. A bit of energiser bunniness in the main character, winged frequently but never downed. There was a love story between the two main characters, and of course there was a level of physical attractiveness about them both, although I'm happy to report there were no signs of hair flicking and very little gratuitous comment on beautiful eyes and glorious legs...
What makes a thriller work, or not work, is how these clichés are delivered. In the case of DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, mostly everything worked, the plot was believable without the need to park your disbelief around the back and hide the keys; the love story wasn't too thickly applied, and whilst there was a bit of inexplicable jeopardy for all players, it did all gel. Maybe there are points where the plot got a little vague, but the action elements held up, and the pace certainly didn't let go.
Definitely something on the entertaining side, the only thing that was missing when I read DEFENDER OF THE FAITH was the box of chocolates and deck chair that you'd normally drag out at Christmas to sit down and be thoroughly and comprehensively entertained by a good espionage thriller.
DEFENDER OF THE FAITH is available in various formats - check out the website for details: http://defenderofthefaith.com.au/