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(Also published as Spycatcher)
By Matthew Dunn
Charnwood Large Print, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4448-1336-4
Genre: Spy Thriller

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - June 24, 2013

Before I get to the review, let me just warn readers that Spartan has also been published under the title Spycatcher, in the United States.

Spartan is a riveting spy novel written by a real spy. Matthew Dunn was a SIS agent who also worked with SAS, SBS, MI5, GCHQ, and the CIA. Due to his years of expereince in the real world of spooks, it makes you wonder, how much, if anything in this book, is based upon fact?

This story revolves the super-secret work of MI6's Spartan Section, which works ala James Bond, with almost unfettered freedom to do whatever they need to keep the world safe. Will Cochrane works for the Spartan Section, and some say that he is their most valuable asset. In this, the first Will Cochrane novel, super spy Will is tasked with tracking down a deadly terrorist who is bent upon unleashing Armageddon upon an unsuspecting world. Luckily for the world, Cochrane will not have to work alone. This is to be a joint MI6 / CIA operation, with the combined arsenals of the two agencies at Will's disposal. The only problem is that joint operations often come with their own difficulties, such as trying to keep both sides happy, not stepping on anyone's toes, and the combined bureaucracies of two spy agencies.

Full of quick paced action, rough and tumble characters, and a sufficiently evil bad guy, Spartan is your typical, action packed spy thriller. It is perfect reading for a lazy day when you don't want to put too much 'thinking' effort into a book. There is also a great deal of political intrigue, a fair amount of globe hopping, and the requisite lady or two that is so essential to this genre. Spartan will hold your interest, provide a few thrills, and it will divert your attention from more pressing needs like cleaning the gutters or mowing the lawn. Just don't expect this to be high literature - after all, when your lead character keeps getting shot, but keeps on kicking - and kicking *ss - you know what type of story you are in for.

Personally, I like this type of high action, low cerebral effort, story - especially the older I get ;-) In addition, this story is at times so ludicrous that it is downright, laugh-out-loud funny - silly almost to the point of a superhero parody, which I felt only added to its entertainment value! Best of all, Dunn has already written several other novels featuring Will Cochrane, and as soon as they come out in large print, I plan on scooping them up!

Spartan can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood Large Print.

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