The back cover of this political thriller sets the scene for Rogue Nation by Alan Clements:
‘The year is 2014. The Republicans have recaptured the White House, the Conservatives have just won a second term at Westminister and hardliners dominate Russia. In a small corner of north-western Europe, the Scots have just narrowly voted for independence, a decision they immediately regret.’
Nothing in the above looks too far fetched. Add in the notion that the English are happy to see Scotland make its own way in the world – breaking the political union but retaining the social union – and we have a highly credible backdrop for a work of fiction.
The book’s structure makes it easy to read (the pace of Dan Brown meets the erudition of The West Wing) as the author takes us on a journey: from the White House to the Kremlin; through the streets of Edinburgh to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood; from Dennistoun to the BBC at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. Covering everything from party politics, religious sectarianism, nationalism/unionism; the army to the global military power struggle.
The novel is sprinkled with great quotes from Benjamin Franklin – the subject of the main character’s thesis. One of my favourite quotes has a very contemporary resonance to it:
‘Those who would give up liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety’.
A great summer read and an admirable first novel. I look forward to the movie – hopefully starring somebody Scottish!