Pantheon

Pantheon
Sam Bourne
Reviewed by John Lloyd
HarperCollins
Thu, 16/02/2012
9780007413638
£16.99

James Zennor, having been mentally and physically scarred from fighting in 1930s Spain, is stuck at home for the Second World War.

His lovely wife and toddler, however, aren’t at home when he expects them to be, and seem to have vanished.  James’ search for them will take him much further than he would expect, and a lot closer to an under-explored, real-life element of our wartime history.
 
This is not a thriller that will thrill everybody.  Bourne is quite happy to cover only one day in over eighty pages, and his style contains continuous repetition of the latest state of play or mood Zennor finds himself in.  That aside, the narrative he follows in search of his family, and the circumstance where he finds himself fighting a much more personal war than he had planned, are still of note.
 
Best however is the afterword, for proving how cleverly Bourne crafted any tale such as his out of the historical truth.  The main thrust of the story is too slow and dense to surprise much, but the actual amount of it that was accurate and that will be new to the average reader shows a strong technique and expertise has been used in these pages.
 

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