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Book Review

Book Cover

Yesterday's Hero


Author: Jonathan Wood
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $14.95, Cdn $16.95
ISBN: 978 1 78116 808 0
Publication Date: 12 September 2014

It seems like a reasonable idea that, if you saved the world, you might get the next day off. But, for Arthur Wallace, it just doesn’t turn out this way. As the newest member of MI37, tasked to keep Britain save from paranormal and alien threats, Arthur’s new day does not work out well as he finds his team battling a reanimated, zombie Tyrannosaurus...

Yesterday’s Hero (2014 411 pages) is the sequel to Jonathan Wood's novel, No Hero.

With this novel Wood’s story telling has stylistically settled down, maybe it was the pressure of producing the first book in the series which made it a little uneven. There are no such problems with the current novel. In many ways Wood has increased what was good about No Hero, whilst, at the same time creating a more pleasurable experience for the reader.

The story, for the most part, spends its time very much with its tongue firmly jammed into its cheek, but Wood is able to alternate this with action sequences which blend perfectly into the greater whole. Arthur’s obsession with what Kurt Russell would or wouldn’t do in any given situation has thankfully decreased as Arthur matures as a character. Whereas he was a hesitant hero in the first book, his exposure to the end of the world has allowed him to grow in confidence, even to the point of turning his back on all he holds dear.

As well as the regulars of MI37, Yesterday’s Hero introduces a new array of characters, including a new boss, Coleman, who turns out to hate Arthur, for reasons which are eventually explained, and has no qualms about belittling his efforts in front of the team. The character’s bluster and self importance does lean a little towards caricature, but this is forgivable as he is used as a comic foil to wind Arthur up, flop flop flop.

Another set of characters are The Weekenders, a small group of like minded individuals, who are engaged in the same fight as MI37. Arthur is initially drawn to this eccentric group of amateurs, but is warned off by his own team.

The Russian villains, apart from three explosive action set pieces, don’t really appear in the book much and we never get to know them as characters. Their main purpose is to provide a reason for the story to unfold. The book is really about trust and relationships, although that probably makes the book sound less amusing than it is.

Having gotten the difficult first book out of the way Woods has returned with a much more improved mark 2, it just hangs together so much better, the balance between the dry dark humour and the action sequences is right and there is more character development.

I was a little uncertain with the first novel, but with its follow up Wood’s has a story that was a real pleasure to read.


Charles Packer

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