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Books on Spain

A round-up and review of Books on Spain. Some old some new, fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes brief, sometimes in depth but never negative. If I don’t like it, I won’t review it!

Twilight Visitor
30 October 2014 @ 17:14

Twilight Visitor

My choice this time is a slight cheat. It’s actually set in Afife which is technically in Portugal, albeit by only twenty miles. But my blog, my rules!

Twilight Visitor is a strange book. It’s a bit science fiction, a bit political thriller and a fair bit philosophical. This caught my eye as it’s a recent release by Reál Laplaine, a thriller writer of some note who has recently been receiving a lot of good press. The main thread of the book is a conversation which takes place on the beach at Afife, a huge and usually fairly deserted sandy stretch on the northerly borders of Portugal and Spain. Whilst the conversation is taking place, the last great conflict is about to be enacted in the middle east. China is squaring up to Iran over oil and the world edges relentlessly towards nuclear war. 

On the beach at Afife, a lonely and disillusioned man meets a beautiful and enigmatic woman. She introduces herself as Serena and together they drink wine and talk. A parallel story follows the main players involved in the rapidly approaching world holocaust as they attempt to prevent the headlong rush towards Armageddon . The juxtaposition between the two narratives is handled skillfully and in lesser hands could well have resulted in an unintelligible mess. Laplaine’s mastery of the two plot lines is quite extraordinary as he balances the pastoral and tranquil setting of the beach scenes with a high concept thriller that is comparable with the best of Dan Brown or Jack Higgins. 

Through the conversations we learn that the visitor Serena is much more than she appears and it gradually becomes apparent she’s not even human. Her target, this lonely and disillusioned man on a deserted beach unknowingly holds the key to preventing the seemingly inevitable nuclear war. She has to convince him that a fragment of knowledge he holds can move the world back from the brink of total annihilation. But time is running out and the man is skeptical.

The settings that Reál Laplaine has chosen are perfect. We move from the beautiful scenery of the Atlantic coastal village to the war room of the Pentagon and the deserts of Iran with ease. Whilst the Super Powers seem incapable of pulling the situation back from the edge, conversations take place in a small bar in a tiny Portuguese village that may well turn the course of this rapidly escalating conflict. 

Laplaine’s view of world politics is both challenging and thought provoking as he explores the nature of corporate interest on developing nations. He clearly knows his subject and his ideas on the way technology could be better utilised for the good of the indigenous populations rather than the blind pursuit of profit make for interesting reading.

Twilight Visitor is a highly unusual book and probably its stumbling point will be its refusal to conform to genre. The thriller reader may be put off by the long pastoral scenes and the science fiction reader may be disappointed by the enigmatic nature of the  alien who is not about to send in a fleet of battle cruisers to save the day. But for those who are willing to try something a bit different this a very rewarding book.

Twilight Visitor by Reál Laplaine is published by Netherworld Books



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rlauthor said:
02 November 2014 @ 17:50

Hi David, I came across your review of my book, Twilight Visitor. Thank you very much for that - it was very insightful and you summed up the salient points about the book; including, and I was waiting for someone to notice, that I had crossed the line on at least two genres. I knew I was taking a chance on that, but it felt right. Again, thanks for your wonderful assessment, and I hope you don't mind, but I posted your review to my blog along with your photo at www.twilightvisitor.blogspot.se

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