Friday, 14 November 2014

The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard won a Thumping Good Read award for an earlier book, so I knew I was in safe hands with his more recent thriller, The Ways of the World. Set mostly in Paris just after World War One, it features a dashing young hero, James ‘Max’ Maxted. Max has amazingly survived the war as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps and is keen to get on with life and start his aviation school with his mechanic friend, Sam Twentyman.

But all this is put on hold when Max’s father, minor diplomat Sir Henry Maxted, falls to his death from the rooftop of his mistress’s apartment building. Max suspects foul play, but the French police and the British secret service are keen to sweep it under the carpet as a likely suicide.

In the background, heads of state have converged on Paris to nut out the Treaty of Versailles and there are diplomatic secrets ready to be bought and sold. Sir Henry seems to have had many contacts including Travis Ireton who makes his living as a trader in secrets. Had Sir Henry discovered something that put his life at risk?

The Ways of the World definitely falls into the ‘thumping good read’ category, with a ton of action, mystery and a great cast of characters. Grease monkey, Sam Twentyman, desperate to avoid joining the family baking business is a great foil to Max’s more upper-class Bond type hero. There may not be a lot of character development, but with such a whirlwind of plots and sub-plots, action and secrecy, the reader is kept well entertained. The writing is crisp and flawless, and the atmosphere of Paris in a not very clement springtime evocative and interesting. Top marks from me.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Ways of the World

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