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Harry's Game by Gerald Seymour
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Harry's Game

by Gerald Seymour

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Showing 5 of 5
The passage of time does little to detract from this brilliant tour de force novel set in the blood soaked streets of Belfast in the mid 1970's. Henry Danby government minister is murdered in front of his wife and children by professional hitman Billy Downs....."Others determined the morality. Others turned his work into victories. He did as he was told, expertise his trade mark. The soldier in his army"...... Once his mission is accomplished Downs returns post haste to Belfast losing himself in the working class republican enclaves of the Ardoyne and the Falls. Harry Brown fresh from intelligent work in Aden and Albania is tasked with the job of going undercover in Belfast in order to seek out and eliminate Downs. He is well suited to the venture being a native of the province born and bred in the county of Armagh. His cover is that of merchant seaman Harry McEvoy back in the "auld country" after a long absence. The locals very quickly become suspicious and find his accent somewhat unconvincing. As the hunter and hunted circumnavigate each other they set the scene for the final bloody conflict and it soon becomes apparent that death may well be the inevitable outcome for Harry and his nemesis Billy Downs.

Harry's Game was first published in 1975 and in my opinion possibly the best book that the author Gerald Seymour wrote in his long and distinguished writing career. He brilliantly shows Belfast in the mid 70's when the "troubles" was at its highest......"It was the adventure playground par excellence for the urban terrorist"....... You can feel the tension, the hatred, the parochial entrenched attitude of both catholic and protestant inhabitants, as they go about their normal day committing murder and mayhem against their fellow neighbour, all in the name of misguided religious and political beliefs. Highly Recommended ( )
  runner56 | Sep 4, 2018 |
An excellent first novel by my current favorite thriller/spy novelist, Gerald Seymour. In the 90's, toward the end of the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland, an IRA killer assassinates a British official in London. The Brits insert Harry, an experienced undercover agent, into the local Belfast population in an attempt to identify and eliminate the assassin. The remainder of the book is a great description of the cat and mouse game, with high stakes, the characters played.

I've read Seymour's work out of sequence due to the (often lack of) availability of his novels at our local library. Reading his first effort so late in my experience with his work has been enlightening. He was great at the beginning and improved, in my opinion, exponentially from there. Harry's Game has it all: excellent writing, great pace, believable dialogue, and a wonderful plot. I don't think the 'tradecraft' was up to the standards that he set later in his writing career, but it was still quite good.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd begin my reading of Seymour's work with this one so I could appreciate his growth as I went along. This was great stuff! ( )
  gmmartz | Jun 21, 2016 |
Blurb........... A British cabinet minister is gunned down on a London street by an IRA assassin. In the wake of a national outcry, the authorities must find the hitman. But the trail is long cold, the killer gone to ground in Belfast, and they must resort to more unorthodox methods to unearth him. Ill prepared and poorly briefed, undercover agent Harry Brown is sent into the heart of enemy territory to infiltrate the terrorists..


But when it is a race against the clock, mistakes are made and corners cut. For Harry Brown, alone in a city of strangers, where an intruder is the subject of immediate gossip and rumour, one false move is enough to leave him fatally isolated....


I have recently expanded my scope of fiction reading to encompass the “thriller” and as Gerald Seymour has on occasion been touted as the best thriller writer working today in the UK, why not give him a go?


Harry’s Game was his debut novel, first published in the mid-70’s and probably never out of print since.


Whilst the politics in Northern Ireland have moved on in the last thirty years, the novel stands the test of time. Seymour offers the reader a perspective from both the Nationalist viewpoint and those involved on the British side, both on the ground locally and those, slightly more remote in government in London.


I enjoyed this first venture into Seymour country. He manages to convincingly drive the story forward, conveying a sense of realism and fear for Harry as the other side close in to try to shut him down.


Just as well really because I recently bought a 20 strong Seymour book bundle second hand on E-Bay!


4 out of 5.


http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/gerald-seymour-harrys-game.html ( )
  col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
"Cock-up" appears to be a delightfully beguiling British phrase to describe what we Americans would call a major "fuck-up." Both of those euphemisms apply to the events described in this book. Seymour writes well and has a decidedly jaundiced view of virtually every layer of society except perhaps the little guy who finds him/her-self squeezed between forces beyond their control.

Ordinary people, pawns, politicians interested in public relations, generals concerned with intelligence but not always acting with same, the man in the field, independent, having to make snap decisions, constantly at risk, things never going the way they were planned. These are the ingredients of a Seymour spy novel. They are very good.

I have no idea what it must have been like to live in Ireland during the "Troubles." This book seems to provide an authentic look at Ireland from the point of view of an IRA assassin and the British agent sent to find and kill him. There are all sorts of plot summaries around for those interested in spoilers. One warning: if you are looking for blue sky at the end of the rainbow, you will be sorely disappointed.

The book was written in 1975 and recently reissued. I suspect many of the youngsters around today have no memory of the constant terror that must have existed between the Catholics and the Protestants, the incessant killing and reprisals, the brutal repressive tactics of the British authorities, and the efficiency and savagery of the IRA cells.

It's ironic that terrorism has become such a public concern in this country when terrorism on a grand scale was being conducted by both sides in Ireland, a country held in such esteem by many enclaves throughout this land.

This is quite a superior thriller, very realistic and on a par with Le Carre, if a bit less introspective. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Blurb........... A British cabinet minister is gunned down on a London street by an IRA assassin. In the wake of a national outcry, the authorities must find the hitman. But the trail is long cold, the killer gone to ground in Belfast, and they must resort to more unorthodox methods to unearth him. Ill prepared and poorly briefed, undercover agent Harry Brown is sent into the heart of enemy territory to infiltrate the terrorists..

But when it is a race against the clock, mistakes are made and corners cut. For Harry Brown, alone in a city of strangers, where an intruder is the subject of immediate gossip and rumour, one false move is enough to leave him fatally isolated....

I have recently expanded my scope of fiction reading to encompass the “thriller” and as Gerald Seymour has on occasion been touted as the best thriller writer working today in the UK, why not give him a go?

Harry’s Game was his debut novel, first published in the mid-70’s and probably never out of print since.

Whilst the politics in Northern Ireland have moved on in the last thirty years, the novel stands the test of time. Seymour offers the reader a perspective from both the Nationalist viewpoint and those involved on the British side, both on the ground locally and those, slightly more remote in government in London.

I enjoyed this first venture into Seymour country. He manages to convincingly drive the story forward, conveying a sense of realism and fear for Harry as the other side close in to try to shut him down.

Just as well really because I recently bought a 20 strong Seymour book bundle second hand on E-Bay!

4 out of 5.

http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/gerald-seymour-harrys-game.html ( )
  col2910 | Aug 15, 2013 |
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A British cabinet minister is gunned down on a London street by an IRA assassin. In the wake of national outcry, the authorities must find the hitman. But the trail is long cold, the killer gone to ground in Belfast, and they must resort to more unorthodox methods to unearth him. Ill prepared and poorly briefed, undercover agent Harry Brown is sent into the heart of enemy territory to infiltrate the terrorists. But when it is a race against the clock, mistakes are made and corners cut. For Harry Brown, alone in a city of strangers, where an intruder is the subject of immediate gossip and rumour, one false move is enough to leave him fatally isolated.… (more)

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