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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

‘The Artemis File’ by Adam Loxley


Published by Troubador Publishing Ltd,
7 May 2019.
I
SBN: 978-1-78901873-8 (PB).

George Ambrose Wiggins, compiles crossword puzzles for the London Chronicle newspaper and lives in Tenterden with his wife Margaret.  Complete with hanging baskets and pubs galore, the Kentish village has doggedly refused to succumb to the retail chains that have decimated most British high streets and is the perfect home for George, a man of temperate and predictable habit.  In the opening paragraphs of Chapter One he follows his usual Thursday night routine, popping into The Red Lion for a few pints with the locals on his way home from work.  By the end of the chapter, however, his world has been turned upside down as he is plunged into the thrilling tale of espionage concealed within The Artemis File. 

The first few chapters of the book introduce a giddy array of spies attached to MI5, the CIA and their Russian equivalent, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).  The plot lines are intriguing, and there is little time to consider how they might relate to each other given the G-force of the accelerating narrative.  Some respite is offered in the book’s descriptions of Kent and London.  These are meticulously, often beautifully, portrayed and contain fascinating and well researched historical information. 

Characterisation is excellent throughout.  With the possible exception of Wiggins, one would not wish to socialise with any of the personalities who are still standing at the end of the breathless narrative.  This includes the central protagonist and anti-hero, Craven, whose character attracts and repels in equal measure.  The ex-special operations investigator, apparently loyal to crown and country, evinces machismo and employs extreme brutality when dealing with, admittedly similarly vicious, adversaries.  Craven’s nihilism, casual misogyny and racism make him an unpredictable and complex character.  For all his lack of political correctness, however, he’s definitely the guy to choose when confronted by the other deplorable undercover operatives depicted in the novel.

The Artemis File, is a sequel to Adam Loxley’s 2011 debut novel, The Teleios Ring.  It is a fascinating and well-constructed novel that captured my imagination from beginning to end.  The book pulls no punches and is perfect for those who enjoy the literary equivalent of a rollercoaster’s dive drop, it provides non-stop action and an edge of your seat ride.  I enjoyed every shocking twist, had no idea who to trust, and was completely outmanoeuvred by the final chapters.  A cracking good read!
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Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent

Adam Loxley lives in the Weald of Kent. Other than creative writing his passions are making music, world cinema and contemporary art.  The Artemis File is a sequel to his debut novel, The Teleios Ring. The third and final novel in the Vector trilogy, The Oedipus Gate, is currently in manuscript.

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  


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