Into a Raging Blaze

Written by Andreas Norman

Review written by Philip Gooden

His historical novels include the Nick Revill series, set in Elizabethan London, a Victorian sequence, and a series of Chaucer mysteries, now in in e-books.


Into a Raging Blaze
Quercus
RRP: £4.48 /£12.99
Released: July 3rd, 2014
Kindle / Hardcover

Here’s something a little different from the run of Scandi Noir. Andreas Norman’s Into a Raging Blaze, published in Sweden in 2013 and now appearing in an English translation by Ian Giles, anticipated the Snowden revelations and reinforces the fear that there’s no secrecy for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Since the author worked in a counter-terrorism unit in his own country and presumably knows what he’s talking about, here is a conspiracy thriller that demonstrates paranoia is advisable.

Carina Dymek, a career civil servant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is ambitious and conscientious  -  and a woman with a conscience. Which is why after a meeting in Brussels she is approached by another civil servant, who introduces himself only as Jean and gives her a memory stick containing a covert plan for a Europe-wide Intelligence Service, which will fall outside any parliamentary supervision.

Unwisely, Dymek broadcasts this to her boyfriend Jamal Badawi, among others, and even more unfortunately the innocent Badawi, who works in the Ministry of Justice, comes onto the terrorist radar. A kind of counterpart and parallel to Dymek is Bente Jensen, who heads the Section for Special Intelligence, basically a semi-legal eavesdropping operation working for Sweden but always with a deferential eye to the bigger players, Britain and the US. Though at first Jensen pursues Carina without any qualms, she soon comes to suspect that the ‘terrorist’ case against the couple is without any foundation. Further, like Snowden, she starts to doubt the legality and morality of what her government is up to.

This isn’t a big-bang thriller. There are some narrow getaways and evasions but there is also plenty of attention given to status battles within the various intelligence outfits. British readers may be surprised by the mixture of respect and resentment which is accorded to MI6 and the universal reach of GCHQ. Apparently, we are second only to the Americans in our expertise and ruthlessness in the world of shadows and surveillance. Into a Raging Blaze is a timely book, then, and  -  in an understated sort of way  -  an exciting one.

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