The Serpent’s Head: Revenge by Julian Malins – Review

June 7, 2012

The genre of political thriller is not one I read particularly often, and it usually has to have a very interesting premise for me to pick it up in the first place.  This one did catch my attention: what could happen if wealthy and influential individuals lost a loved one in a terrorist attack and had the means, motive and opportunity to take personal revenge?

The first half of the novel introduces the protagonists, describes the initial terrorist incident which sparked the titular revenge, while the second half follows its setup and first stages of execution.  One thing I found detracted from the novel slightly was the abrupt end.  I understand this is the first in a two book series, and it felt as though the ending was neither a tied up ending nor a lead in to book two. 

I found the characters to be well developed and in general sympathetic – at times it was all too easy to forget that what they are planning will cost the lives of many innocents in the name of personal revenge.  The author does very well though in the way he describes their grief to gain the reader's empathy.

The descriptions of the political and practical discussions was also very well done – it was intelligently written and easily accessible to someone who doesn't move in the exalted circles of the protagonists. That said, I would have welcomed a more moderate religious viewpoint to balance the fanaticism on both sides of the Islamic/Christian divide.

I will certainly be checking out book two when it it is published and look forward to it.  I gave The Serpent's Head: Revenge four stars.

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