Saturday, July 17, 2021

"Man on Fire"

Humphrey Hawksley has reported on key trends, events and conflicts from all over the world.

His work as a BBC foreign correspondent has taken him to crises on every continent.

Hawksley applied the Page 69 Test to his new Rake Ozenna thriller, Man on Fire, and reported the following:
On page 69 Rake Ozenna’s undercover special forces team has flown from Alaska to a remote settlement on the far eastern Russian coast. They are looking for documents that will eventually lead Rake to the discovery of a dreadful of modern warfare. The team is in the main government building searching files with Korav, the leader of the settlement. Outside, a vehicle carrying Russian enemies speeds toward them. There is a twist in that Korav belongs to the same indigenous Bering Strait tribe as Rake. Will Korav side with Rake, even if he is an American, or with the Russians. Rake has seconds to decide. His team is in lethal danger.

Readers would get a pretty good idea about Man on Fire at several levels from page 69. The pace is fast. Knife-edge choices need to be made is seconds. There is a sense that whatever is discovered here will lead to something far worse because Rake’s challenges are behind-the-headlines global threats. There is a hint of breakthrough on page 69 in that Korav and Rake share heritage that has been divided by White Man’s politics, and Korav needs something from Rake. His brother is missing. The chapter ends on a cliff-edge as the Russian enemy is moments away. Is Korav and ally or an enemy? How will Rake get his team out of this one?

Page 69 builds tension before a high-octane action scene in the next chapter. Before getting there, the reader will be taken to the landscape of the remote U.S.-Russian border where nuclear-armed superpowers face each other across the narrow Bering Strait. This is vivid scene-setting. Very few thrillers use this location and none in as much detail. As the narrative gathers pace, Rake’s flaws and determination are displayed. By page 69, the reader will have met Carrie Walker, Rake’s on-off girlfriend, the one woman he’s unable to get out of his mind. They are soul mates but they come from two very different worlds. The reader will have been introduced to Harry Lucas, a private security contractor, to whom Rake reports and Harry’s ex-wife. Baroness Stephanie Lucas of Clapham, the British foreign secretary, takes readers behind the scenes to battles and turf fights inside the corridors of power. Twenty pages earlier, readers would have glimpsed Ruslan Yumatov, whom one critic described as ‘a hard-ass, cold-stoned, iron-like man with unparalleled determination! You gotta love Yumatov, he is fierce!’ As the saying goes, a good villain makes the story. As for Rake, the great Nelson DeMille says simply, “We’re glad he’s on our side.’
Visit Humphrey Hawksley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The History Book.

The Page 69 Test: Man on Ice.

--Marshal Zeringue