Monday, October 4, 2021

Finished: Stephen Hunter's "Basil's War"

 Stephen Hunter is most famous for his Bob Lee Swagger novels. They are awesome.

His latest novel is Basil's War. It's neither a Swagger novel nor awesome.

I'm not much of a war novel or war movie guy. Not really into history either except for the occasional biography. I read this one simply because Hunter wrote it.

Basil St. Florian is an accomplished agent in the British Army, tasked with dozens of dangerous missions for crown and country across the globe. But his current mission, going undercover in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, might be his toughest assignment yet. He will be searching for an ecclesiastic manuscript that doesn’t officially exist, one that genius professor Alan Turing believes may hold the key to a code that could prevent the death of millions and possibly even end the war.

St. Florian isn’t the classic British special agent with a stiff upper lip―he is a swashbuckling, whisky-drinking cynic and thrill-seeker who resents having to leave Vivien Leigh’s bed to set out on his crucial mission. Despite these proclivities, though, Basil’s Army superiors know he’s the best man for the job, carrying out his espionage with enough charm and quick wit to make any of his subjects lower their guards.

It was a short story he turned into a novel and you could kind of tell. It wasn't that much of a story. And if you're going to write a movie set in World War II you'd think it would be halfway believable. This stretched the imagination and the realm of possibility on occasion.

I finished it. Gave it a 5 of 10. Amazonians a 4.1 of 5. Goodreaders a 4.73.

Pro tip: Read all 12 Swagger novels; skip this one.

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