Summary and book reviews of The Walking Dead by Gerald Seymour

The Walking Dead

By Gerald Seymour

The Walking Dead

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Book Summary

A young man starts a journey from a dusty village in Saudi Arabia. He believes it will end with his death in faraway England. For honour, for glory, for victory. If his mission succeeds, he will go to his god a martyr — and many innocents will die with him.

For David Banks, an armed protection officer charged with neutralising the growing menace to London’s safety, his role is not as clear-cut as it once was. The certainties which ruled his thinking are no longer black and white. Banks has begun to realise that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Never have those distinctions been more dangerous to a police officer with his finger on the trigger — and to those who depend upon him.

On a bright spring morning the two men’s paths will cross. Before then, their commitment will be shaken by the journeys which take them there. The suicide bomber and the policeman will have equal cause to question the roads they’ve chosen. Win or lose, neither will be the same again . . .

The Walking Dead is a breathtakingly suspenseful thriller about the world in which we live, with all its dangers and complexities. With intelligence and deep understanding, Seymour shows us the choices we are forced to make, and their consequences. It is one of the most excitingly contemporary and relevant novels you will ever read.

Chapter 1: Thursday, Day 1

It was as if he had been brought to a camel market. All of his life since he had gained the first clouded images of memory, he had stood and watched such markets. And now they were thirteen hundred kilometers behind him, separated from him by the wilderness of the Kingdom’s deserts and by the knife-edged crests of the Asir mountains. There, between the mountains and the shining sea, was the village that was his home.

The beasts of burden – camels, hobbled at the ankle, and mules lined up, standing listlessly, tethered to a rope running between two posts – were well respected by the traveling Bedouin and the itinerant merchants who came to buy. In the extremities of the desert’s temperatures, brutal heat by day and chill air at night, or on the passes through the mountains that led to the Yemen border, a tribesman or trader would suffer death by dehydration or exposure if he had bought unwisely at the market. It was the skill of those ...

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Reviews

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In the hands of a lesser writer, The Walking Dead could have become a run-of-the-mill pot-boiler. What makes this novel noteworthy is Seymour's attention to the book's underlying themes. He delves into the question of how young men get into situations where they willingly risk their lives for their ideals, drawing parallels between the suicide bomber and a young volunteer fighting in the Spanish Civil War almost a century earlier (1820-23). Other sub-texts explored are the efficacy of intelligence gathering and old-fashioned detective work, and the roles chance and coincidence play in events.

The book is well paced, starting slowly and gradually picking up speed before barreling through to the end. Parts of the story are predictable, but some of the plot twists are truly shocking. Readers are advised to have a contiguous block of time available for the last third of the novel; once started, it's difficult to put down. There are those who may be put off by the disturbing nature of a few scenes, but most readers will enjoy this addition to the genre.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review Members Only (1192 words).

Media Reviews
Eurocrime.co.uk

Another outstanding story from this brilliant author, who has written 24 titles without one crock amongst them .... Whilst very interesting, the book seemed unnecessarily long, with Seymour giving several pages of narrative to characters that were only peripheral to the plot.

The Daily Telegraph

As a sprawling novel about the decline of moral courage in society, this is almost Dickensian in ambition. As a thriller, its long-delayed climax is almost perfunctory.

The Guardian

There are authors you can rely on to give you a rollercoaster ride through the tough world we live in and Gerald Seymour, who honed his research and observational skills as a TV news reporter, is one of the best.

Publishers Weekly

[A] chillingly believable thriller...Seymour handles all the elements like the professional he is as the twisting plot builds to a satisfying conclusion.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Heroics, religion, sex, torture, doubt and ever-increasing tension in a cerebral blend. A thriller for all sides of today's war.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Minor characters play a role in the climax, but including their stories detracts from the overall pacing. Despite this slight flaw, this is still highly recommended for all libraries.

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Beyond the Book

A Short History of al-Qaeda

The history of the Sunni-Muslim organization al-Qaeda ("The Base") can be traced to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Osama bin Laden, a young, wealthy Islamic idealist from Saudi Arabia, felt compelled to assist his fellow Muslims in their struggle against these "infidels." He moved his factories to Afghanistan, and joined the resistance group Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK), led by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Together they organized a world-wide recruiting program which advertised for young Muslims to fight against the Soviets. The Afghan government donated land for training bases, while bin Laden paid for the volunteers' transportation, facilities and training. He brought in experts ...

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