Smoke and Tranquility ISBN: 9781542765466, an e-book authored and copyright by Robert Swann.
Simon Hunter is a resident of an unusually advanced physiologic and technological colony who live unusually long lives and produce weaponry and other products similar to those provided for the fictitious James Bond. He has served both the British Empire and the U. S. Intelligence Agencies, but as their interests demand that he act contrary to his basic moral code, he leaves and through his intelligence pursues entrepreneurial activities that have made him enormously wealthy. This wealth he employs to discover and address the plight of unfortunates throughout the world. His present position is in a small, backward African Country with decaying architecture of uncertain origin and no architectural merit – a true legacy of African tribal and British and French colonization in a unique undesirable blend. His project is to bring down Benningo Dagobah, a rapidly rising, totally unstable zealot whose ‘New Light’ religion is to provide ‘ethnic cleansing’ (graphically demonstrated by his holding aloft the severed head of a ‘non-believer’) in first Benejado Province and then all of the continent and beyond while greatly enhancing his personal status and wealth. Simon’s task is complicated by many factors – an admonition by Sir Michael Westinghouse of British Intelligence, through high level Agent N11 Tefawa Belawa, not to become involved, the country’s president Jacob Wellbeing who is cunning and not as he appears, Benningo and Benningo”s cousin, a strange, totally depraved killer named Kofi and others.
The author has provided an interesting political thriller replete with duplicity, deceit, deception and betrayal distributed through several themes similar to those one encounters almost daily in the news – deranged killers, despotic rulers, governmental misuse of intelligence activity and findings and the high level of unrest at home and throughout the world. He also has employed an interesting format which he explains well in a few short sentences before beginning the story. For this reader, a little judicious editing would even have enhanced the enjoyment. However, the tale moves well and Simon manages to cope with his numerous problems and terminate his mission in a manner that will furnish most readers several hours of engaging, perhaps even thought-producing, reading.
4* Engaging, perhaps even thought-producing, political thriller.