Book: The Italian Mission, by Alan Champorcher
Genre and Year of Publication: Spy/thriller, 2013 (read in August; reviewed in November)
Where I got it: Free Kindle download
Length: 218 pages
Briefly, it’s an action-packed spy drama, mostly set in Italy, involving an ex-CIA agent, now working (unhappily) in the diplomatic service, who is called on to help a Tibetan monk who is on the run in Italy, to escape from the agents of the Chinese government.
Comments: This is a bit outside my comfort zone – spy thrillers are not my favourite genre. But this one wasn’t bad. The large cast includes Chinese, Tibetans, Israelis, South Africans, Italians, and Americans. There are the usual car chases, dramatic escapes, double-crossing agents, governments about to topple based on the success or failure of our hero’s next move, and at the end James Bond, sorry, John Adams Conti, gets his woman.
Part of the story is set on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage path from Canterbury to Rome. I’ve already blogged about three pilgrimage books this year [two relating to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain and one to St Declan’s Way in Ireland], so the theme interests me more than a little. I had only just heard of the Via Francigena for the first time a couple of weeks before getting this book, and was amazed to find it referenced here, particularly in the context of a spy story! I’d like to walk part of this route some time (can’t imagine that I’ll ever do the whole thing). I expect that my journey would be a little less dramatic than the events recounted in this book, but the beautiful Tuscan countryside would surely be at least as good…
Challenges: Full House Challenge for the category “Setting you’d like to visit”; ebook reading challenge