Even though I disparaged the final lines of the book I loved Jackdaws by Ken Follett. It was just as good as all of his other thrillers and better than a few. Interesting side note but the most viewed page of this blog comes from Ken Follett, it is the review of Eye of the Needle. More visitors to this site click on that review than any other post. I wonder, since Jackdaws was marginally better than Eye of the Needle if this post will outstrip that post.
I made several notes and marks while reading this book, this first one is a description of the main characters husband. Can you guess why I liked it?
He was still the sexiest man she had ever met. He was tall, and he dressed with careless elegance in rumpled suits and faded blue shirts. His hair was always a little too long. He had a come-to-bed voice and an intense blue-eyed gaze that made a girl feel she was the only woman in the world.
I love that line, “He had a come-to-bed voice.” As someone who has “come-to-bed” characteristics, I can appreciate that descriptor.
I also loved this little snippet:
The vast, sooty bulk of the cathedral loomed over the center of Reims like a divine reproach.
My brother I think would agree with the sentiment expressed in this passage:
“I’m an existentialist. War enables people to be what they really are: the sadists become torturers, the psychopaths make brave front-line troops, the bullies and the victims alike have scope to play their roles to the hilt, and the whores are always busy.”
It was this passage, that I read several times, which I really liked. What a wonderful way to introduce a character, even a minor one.
As a small boy in Sunday school, Paul had been vexed by a theological problem. He had noticed that in Arlington, Virginia, where he was living with his parents, most of the children of his age went to bed at the same time, seven-thirty. That meant they were saying their prayers simultaneously. With all those voices rising to heaven, how could God hear what he, Paul, was saying? He was not satisfied with the answer of the pastor, who just said that God could do anything. Little Paul knew that was an evasion. The question troubled him for years.
If he could have seen Grendon Underwood, he would have understood.
Like God, the Special Operations Executive had to listen to innumerable messages, and it often happened that scores of them came in at the same time. Secret agents in their hideaways were all tapping their Morse keys simultaneously, like the nine-year-olds of Arlington kneeling at their bedsides at half past seven. SOE heard them all.
There are lots of scenes of torture, not as ghastly though as most, but I liked the way he described the torturers mental preparations.
Now he imagined himself closing doors in his soul, shutting his emotions away in cupboards. He thought of the two women as pieces of machinery that would disgorge information as soon as he figured out how to switch them on. He felt a familiar coldness settle over him like a blanket of snow, and he knew he was ready.
All in all I loved this book. Ken Follett has established himself firmly in my mind as a solid go to writer. When I need a good thriller, here’s the place to turn.