Bloomsbury, 369pp hardback, £12.99 cover price
Reviewed by R A Bardy [@mangozoid]
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably wonder why a book about MI5, secret services, British Muslims, and Somalian pirates would have any place in the review section of the British Fantasy Society (BFS). Well, truth be told, there’s not a single Science Fiction or Fantasy icon of any description whatsoever in Rip Tide, but once I started reading this I simply didn’t want to stop. It gripped me within the first couple of (very short) chapters and just pulled me along through every twist and turn, the pages flashing past in a blur – certainly the sign of a cracking read in my book, if you’ll excuse the pun.
It wasn’t until halfway through that I actually bothered to read the short author biog on the dust jacket, and realised it’s the Dame Stella Rimington, formerly the first female Director General of MI5. Well if nothing else she knows how to engage the reader, and although I guessed one of the key protagonists relatively early on, I was still happy to be swept along and carried by the fluidity of her prose through to the inevitable conclusion and ‘not so big reveal’.
So ‘twould seem Somalian pirates, Birmingham mosques, and some well defined and very strong secret service characters do indeed a good book make. An excellent read, and a genuinely pleasant surprise to boot. I enjoyed this thoroughly, and the short chapter lengths definitely had their part to play in maintaining that ‘just one more chapter’ feel… Highly recommended, and if you don’t wish to sully your bookshelf with non-genre material, try your local library!
* This review originally appeared on the British Fantasy Society website here