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Book Review

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The Heretic


Author: Fergus Bannon
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
ISBN: 978 1 50086 879 6
Publication Date: 18 August 2014

Ehrlichmann looks for certainty in life, choosing to study physics he quickly became disillusioned, but found another sort of certainty in being a spy. His reaction, or lack thereof, following his killing of another human being gets him sent to a psychiatrist to determine whether his is a hero or a psychopath. Either way he finally finds the certainty he was seeking, but it will put him in opposition to the rest of the human race…

The Heretic (2014. 317 Pages) is a science fiction/thriller by Fergus Bannon.

Initially I found this a confusing book to read; when we first meet Ehrlichmann he is in the process of apparently trying to wipe out a whole conference of physicists, no explanation given. At this point it’s unclear whether he is a terrorist, although you get the impression that he is from his own admission in the first few pages that many think he is.

The story then jumps back to his past, his initial interest in physics and his recruitment by the British secret service. So, this is a story of a spy gone bad/mad? At this point what we know of his past and his present seem to be a world apart.

You have to get over this disjointed narrative, as Bannon constructs his story in small steps. This turns out to be necessary as Bannon is also challenging some of your most deeply held beliefs about our universe and our understanding of it. When you get to the end, you’re left with the feeling that you have not only just read a good novel, but one which leaves you with the uncomfortable feeling that his assertions might be right. Ok! I admit I’m being a bit vague as far as the plot is concerned, but to give too much away would spoil the story.

The book is told in the first person, so although it contains many other characters we always see them from our protagonist's point of view. The sexuality and violence would make this unsuitable for a younger audience.

Overall this is a weird book, the plot is like Harry Palmer taken to extremes, but the underlying conceit that everything you think you know is just rubbish - and dangerous rubbish as well - lifts the book from the usual spy genre. Whether Bannon actually believes what he says about physics is real or not, he makes enough of a convincing case to make you feel uncomfortable about your certainties.


Charles Packer

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