Firefly: The must-read thriller ripped from today's headlines
By Henry Porter, , and and,
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The boy could help them bring down a deadly ISIS terror cell.
They just have to find him before the other side does.
From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen year old boy is making his way to Germany and safety.
Codenamed ‘Firefly’, he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans.
But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won’t live to pass on the information. When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him.
Paul Samson, ex-MI6 agent and now private eye, finds himself recruited to the cause.
Fluent in Arabic thanks to his Lebanese heritage, Samson’s job is to find Firefly, win his trust and get him to safety. A devastatingly timely thriller following the refugee trail from Syria to Europe, Firefly is a sophisticated, breathtaking race against time from the acclaimed and award-winning author of Brandenburg and The Dying Light.Tweet
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A heart-breakingly contemporary thriller set against the backdrop of the European migrant trail. I found Firefly to be a really well-paced, gripping read, with a wonderfully considered cast of characters who I engaged and empathised with in equal measure. At heart it's a wonderfully crafted Carre-esque, pacy spy-adventure, but set amongst a world of embattled refugees, displacement camps, and child exploitation if made this stand apart - in a remarkable way.
Why have I never discovered Henry Porter before? On the basis of this book I will have to read more because this is a wonderful story, beautifully written, and the first in a series which features former MI6 agent, Paul Samson.
It’s the story of Naji, a 14-year old Syrian refugee who is struggling to reach Germany so his family can follow him there. But Naji is special. Codenamed ‘Firefly’ by the authorities he is thought to hold details of terrorist cells in Europe and their plans. Paul Samson is asked to help European security services find Naji and get him to safety, but it’s a race against the clock because the boy is also being pursued by IS terrorists.
All this might not sound startlingly different from many espionage thrillers but this book is more than a cut above in my opinion. What makes it stand out is that it’s minutely plotted and entirely gripping. It’s a novel of small details. From the difference between red and blue lifejackets to the importance of a plastic sheet, the refugee trail from Syria to Europe is sensitively conveyed. All the characters feel real and the pace of the story is steady but urgent.
So who is Henry Porter? Well I discover he is a journalist who’s written for most of the big newspapers, who is now the London Editor of Vanity Fair magazine. He’s written a series of three books about a spy called Robert Harland, a children’s book, and two standalone novels. In addition, there’s Firefly, which was published in 2018 and the next Paul Samson book – White Hot Silence – which appeared in June this year.
This book ambushed me. I picked it up at the library by chance but wasn’t sure if it was going to be something I’d enjoy. Before I knew it I was hooked. It wasn’t difficult to put down but I looked forward to being able to pick it up again. And days after I’d finished it, I was still thinking about the story and the details. Actually, I still am.
I have to give it 5-Stars.
Oundle Library's Crime Fiction Book Group