The Evolution of Fear, by Paul E. Hardisty, is a sequel to The Abrupt Physics of Dying which I reviewed here. Following the protagonist’s exploits in the Yemen, Claymore Straker is now a fugitive both from the law and from those who believe they are above the law. He has acquired powerful enemies and has a price on his head. The book opens with a shoot out at his hideaway in Cornwall. His safety has been compromised and he is no longer sure who he can trust.
Clay remains the all action hero, able to keep going despite the dangers and a succession of injuries. His aim is to track down and keep safe his lover, Rania. She has her own agenda and is unwilling to forgo what she considers important work. Clay seeks her out only to lose her again. She becomes a pawn in a treacherous game.
The action moves from England to Turkey and on to Cyprus where much of the intrigue is played out. Mercenaries from Clay’s past life are working with businessmen and politicians on both sides of this troubled island. To help Rania he must confront the situation on the island, and also deal with those seeking to avenge past deeds.
On Cyprus trouble is brewing between environmentalists determined to protect the local turtle breeding grounds and developers who wish to exploit the pristine white sands for lucrative tourism. Where money is to be made there is, as always, corruption. Rania has been working with a local researcher, Hope, to publicise the source and scale of the political duplicity. When Clay turns to Hope for assistance in finding Rania he uncovers more about his beloved than he bargained for.
The writing is taut and compelling throughout. This is a fine action thriller that also impels the reader to consider big issues from the real world. Those who enjoy comfort and easy access to places of natural beauty are complicit in the destruction of that which made it beautiful. Those who believe the words of politicians are naive.
I was emotionally hooked by the imagery suffering a sense of loss as profit was pursued despite the cost. It is testament to the skill of the author that he can convey a difficult message whilst never compromising on the pace or excitement. Read this for the pleasure of an edge of your seat adventure. You will be offered so much more.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Orenda.