Sealed with a Death by James Silvester

An addictive political thriller that is just as good as its predecessor

Genre: political thriller

Plot

The esteemed Red Mako, the new symbol of Brexit Britain, is about to launch to a fanfare of political grandeur. But not all are convinced it was worth the price. Barely escaping a botched mission with her life, Lucie Musilova is assigned a low-profile case to regain her superior’s trust. Across the country, women have been disappearing and there is a recurring similarity that connects them: all are European nationals, and all have been ignored by a disinterested media and a politically-restrained police force cut to the bones. Soon, a body is discovered and the case grows ever more personal. As she fights corruption and far-right violence to uncover the truth, Lucie finds herself entwined in the seedy worlds of international defence contracts and government-sanctioned prostitution. But with her mentor injured and assassins on her trail, Lucie must use all her wits to avoid becoming the final seal in a battle for the country’s very soul.

Why I love it

It has been a while since I have read the first instalment so it was useful to have a quick summary early on in this sequel of the action of the first book. Sealed with a Death takes you into the seedy underworld of London’s sex scene, with “legal” and state-sponsored brothels. This focus makes for a thought-provoking read at times; although this book is fiction, it is based on fact and that makes you think about people who have to live and work like this in order to survive.

A real strength of this novel is that it gave me greater insight into Lucie’s past, not just in terms of what happened to her in the last book, but also when she was younger. The memories of her father were touching to read, and it was great to see how this reflection was used to bring Lucie and her new colleague, Ismail, together. The bond that develops between Lucie and Ismail as the novel progresses was lovely to witness as they transform from mere co-workers thrown together, to good friends who cover each other’s backs.

It was pleasing to see that Silvester continued Lucie’s struggle between her profession and her faith. When you think of someone whose job requires them to kill to stay alive, you don’t necessarily imagine them to have belief in God. Yet, that is the nature of Silvester’s protagonist, and I think that it adds interesting depth to her character and portrays her as more human. She is not just a cold-hearted, unfeeling killer; she has morals and those morals guide and help her through her most difficult moments.

Just like the first novel, I was swept up in the plot of this one and was very quickly addicted. There were some tense action sequences, and even moments that didn’t have action were still exciting. I was on the edge of my seat, eager with anticipation to find out what would happen to Lucie and the government scandal she and Ismail uncovered. There were some shocks here and there throughout, which kept me engaged right up until the very end. It’s no wonder I finished this book in five days.

The only aspect that disappointed me was that there seemed to be little development in enlightening the circumstances of Lucie’s mother’s death. The previous novel ended with information that hinted at this element of Lucie’s past, and subsequently gave the impression that more insight would be provided in this second book. However, this did not happen and I hope that this plot strand will continue if there is a third instalment.

Overall, Sealed with a Death is an addictive political thriller that captivates your attention from the very first chapter until the end. Silvester imagines a post-Brexit Britain that is hostile towards his tough and complicated protagonist who does not go down without a fight.

Why you should read it

If you’re looking for a current affairs political thriller with an engaging protagonist, this is the perfect book for you.

If you want to see where this series began, I can highly recommend the first novel, Blood, White and Blue. For reasons why you should read it, check out my review of it here: http://cubmagazine.co.uk/2018/11/review-blood-white-and-blue-by-james-silvester/

Rating: 4/5

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