On 7 July 2005 there were four separate but co-ordinated terrorist suicide attacks in London, England. Three were on trains in the London Underground (Tube; Metro) and one on a bus. The day has since become known, among British citizens at least, as 7/7. It is often deemed the equivalent of the infamous United States of America’s 9/11. Though not as extensive as 9/11 it was still traumatic and devastating. There were fifty-six, mixed race, deaths (including the bombers) and seven hundred and eighty-four injuries.
The tone, ethos, and background for this tale are established up front by the author’s dedication:
‘In memory of the victims of the London 7/7 atrocity and all other terrorist outrages.’
The tale commences with the introduction of the protagonist, a survivor, despite his serious injuries, of the bombings. The reader soon learns what is to be the driving force behind the subsequent events: desire for reprisal and revenge against those for dominance and destruction. Throughout, all characters are introduced in well rounded form which enables the reader to visualise, identify, and, where appropriate, empathise, with them.
The story unfolds from all perspectives: terrorist, victim, colleagues, medics, security personnel, friends, and family. It is to the author’s credit that he has attempted, with great success it must be said, to comprehend and understand the motivations, philosophies, and frustrations involved. It is obvious a considerable amount of research went into this remarkable tale for which the author should be commended.
Throughout the reader is kept engaged, suspecting but not quite sure of where the tale is going and frequently surprised by where it does take them. The style flows easily building upon each block as the reader progresses. Nevertheless, despite the steady onward flow, the read should not be rushed: there is considerable content to be absorbed including many valid observations on life and society and how it has changed. It would be easy to miss much of value if the reader does not take time to assimilate each element.
Alex Pearl has made this a realistic and relatable story by avoiding unnecessary frills other authors may have been tempted to incorporate. The reader will have no difficulty comprehending and identifying with the, sadly, modern scenarios. Though the plot, in association with the various sub-plots, may appear complex it is not really and is in no way cumbersome. Each event smoothly transitions to the next.
It is difficult to do this brilliant book justice in a short review. Anyone interested in reflections upon modern society and the impact of terror attacks, as well as those who simply enjoy a good book, will find this an engaging and involved read. The ending will also surprise them because it is certainly not anticipated.
The book is available in digital (Kindle ebook) and paperback formats.
Alex Pearl has previously participated in an author interview that may be read here.
A review of Alex’s first book ’Sleeping with the Blackbirds’ (a YA genre story) may also be accessed by clicking here.