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The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson

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As part of the France Book Tours, I am pleased to welcome you to my blog today with a candid review of the eco-thriller The Greenland Breach.

 Release date: October 30, 2013
- Direct-to-digital translation (all major ebook outlets)
- Isbn: 978-1-939474-94-0 (Kindle)/ 978-1-939474-95-7 (epub)
- 113,000 words/285 pages
Buying links: http://www.lefrenchbook.com/get-books/ or the Amazon Le French Book page: http://www.amazon.com/l/6327897011#

Synopsis:

A stylish, fast-paced spy thriller about the intrigue, economic warfare and struggles for natural resources promised by global warming. The Arctic ice caps are breaking up. Europe and the East Coast of the Unites States brace for a tidal wave. Meanwhile, former French intelligence officer John Spencer Larivière, his karate-trained, steamy Eurasian partner, Victoire, and their bisexual computer-genius sidekick, Luc, pick up an ordinary freelance assignment that quickly leads them into the glacial silence of the great north, where a merciless war is being waged for control of discoveries that will change the future of humanity.

Author:

Award-winning thriller writer Bernard Besson, who was born in Lyon, France, in 1949, is a former top-level chief of staff of the French intelligence services, an eminent specialist in economic intelligence and Honorary General Controller of the French National Police. He was involved in dismantling Soviet spy rings in France and Western Europe when the USSR fell and has real inside knowledge from his work auditing intelligence services and the police. He has also written a number of prize-winning thrillers and several works of nonfiction. He currently lives in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, right down the street from his heroes.
Author page: http://www.lefrenchbook.com/our-authors/bernard-besson/

Translator:

Julie Rose is a prize-winning, world-renowned translator of major French thinkers, known for, among other works, her acclaimed translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, which was published by Random House in 2008. She has translated twenty-eight books, including many French classics, and writes on the side. She lives in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, with her husband, dog and two cats.

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My Review:

This book is the first ecological thriller I have ever come across, but there is little moralising or preaching here. The author has a knack for taking topical issues and making exciting, highly complex adventures out of them. Global warming is but one of the culprits in this story: corporate and personal greed, national pride, inflated egos and lack of concern for the future of humanity are all equally to blame.

The plot is complex, with so many strands combining and so many instances of double-crossing that it is difficult to know whom to trust. Even the three main investigators at Fermatown come in ambiguous shades of grey at times. This makes them more nuanced and less obviously heroic than the main protagonists of many international thrillers. They are prone to appalling lack of judgement and rash decisions at times, which I attribute to their character flaws, but which the author may have done to move the plot forward. Their knowledge of the latest technology is unparalleled, but they are sometimes less discerning when it comes to people.

This not just about spying and international conspiracies, however As readers, we also witness moral dilemmas and real murders, with victims about whom we have started to care. My favourite character is the captain of the vessel stranded in Greenland, Loïc Le Guévenec, a simple man forced into bravery, when all he dreams of is to retire with his wife to a little house on the coast of Brittany.

The prose is taut and fast-paced, as befits a thriller, and you can tell that Monsieur Besson really knows his stuff. Yet it has more poetry to it than some American thrillers I have recently read. The beauty and severity of Greenland is lovingly described, as is the community feel of the Montparnasse district in Paris, where the Fermatown posse work and live.

In conclusion: buckle up tightly, you are in for a roller coaster of an exciting read, but you will have to concentrate, as the storyline may confuse you if you are not paying close attention.

See what other reviewers thought of this book by joining the blog tour here.

If you would like to win an e-book copy of The Greenland Breach, please leave a comment below and tweet about this review before midday (GMT) on Monday 11th November and I will select a winner at random and ask for your email address to have the link sent to you. Since it is an e-book, it is open to readers worldwide. Thank you and hope you enjoy the read!

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10 thoughts on “The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson

  1. Alison Gray on said:

    I love Eco thrillers and will be adding this to my TBR pile!

    • What other eco-thrillers have you read and can you recommend? I hadn’t come across the term before, although I am quite concerned about depletion of natural resources etc., so it was an interesting alternative read for me.

  2. Marina Sofia – An excellent review, for which thanks. I always like it best when novels that deal with those larger issues (like global warming) take it down to the human level. That way, as you say, it doesn’t feel like preaching. It sounds like a complex, interesting and compelling story.

    • You know me: I’m not a great fan of international spy fiction, but this one had the human element as well as the concerns about the future of the planet, which made it both topical and appealing.

  3. Pingback: France Book Tours stops for Nov 3-9 | France Book Tours

  4. Pingback: Bernard Besson on Tour: The Greenland Breach | France Book Tours

  5. thanks for your super review, Besson really deserved it! Emma [France Book Tours]

  6. Thank you so much Marina for this review. When I first read it in French, I just loved the fact that it starts with a tidal wave heading off to the east coast of the US and Canada, but the real story is elsewhere, as you so neatly point out. That’s why we decided to translate it. I just got a copy of the sequel, which came out last week in France. I can’t wait to read it.

    • Shortly after reading it I flew to the US and had a breathtaking view of Greenland from the plane – I couldn’t help thinking about this book and telling the person in the seat next to mine about it.

  7. Pingback: Mega Blog Tour for The Greenland Breach - Le French Book

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