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Ultimatum by Frank Gardner: John C Adams Reviews

Book name: Ultimatum

Author: Frank Gardner

Publisher: Bantam Press

Format: Print, ebook, audiobook

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 2018

Star Rating: 5/5

Ultimatum is a spy thriller set in London and in various cities in Iran amid a backdrop of rising tensions in the Persian Gulf.

I often think that thrillers have a triangulation of action, character and technical detail.

Ultimatum leans more heavily on action and technical detail than on character, though it is still a well-written story.

Luke Carlton is an MI6 officer who, despite being only part way through his training, is given an assignment in Armenia.

Luke’s task is to meet Black Run, an Iranian asset of the secret service and obtain information about Iran’s expanding nuclear programme.

As cover, Luke takes his girlfriend, Elise, who run an art gallery along on the trip.

Black Run is murdered by the Iranian secret service before Luke can talk to him. Luke kills the hitman when he is also pursued and escapes back to London with Elise.

Luke is then sent to Abu Dhabi to recruit the daughter of one of Iran’s most senior Revolutionary Guards, Karim Zamani.

Tannaz is angry with the restraints on her daily life, aware that her parents’ marriage is failing and keen to escape to the west. She loathes her father.

Luke is able to approach Tannaz first in Abu Dhabi and then in London. Sent to Iran to seal the relationship with Tannaz as informant for MI6, he is in immediate danger.

The escalation of the Iranian nuclear programme provides the bedrock of the story. Frank Gardner was the BBC’s Security Correspondent for many years and he has exceptionally extensive knowledge of the Middle East and the secret service’s role there.

Ultimatum draws upon the wealth of Frank Gardner’s knowledge to provide a compelling story with lots of backstory and technical detail. I really enjoyed it, though the characterisation was at times a little broad brush. The action and the technical detail more than made up for that, however, and I would definitely recommend this spy thriller novel.

Thank you for reading my review.

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John C Adams Reviews Ultimatum

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