Wednesday, 10 May 2017

BLOG TOUR: Blue Gold - David Barker

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat - a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow. 

When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission. Freda's misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster - a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. 

Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires' tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust? As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon - and protect the future of 'blue gold'. 

David Barker's gripping debut will thrill fans of Richard North Patterson, Scott Mariani and Steve Berry.

What did I think?

I'm not usually a fan of futuristic or science fiction novels, but I made an exception for Blue Gold as it is set in the not too distant future with a completely believable and frighteningly real storyline: a global water shortage.

Blue Gold really starts with a bang as we meet Sim and Freda, British OFWAT agents, as they are descending a snow covered mountain with a helicopter shooting at them.  To find out what they are doing on a mountain and why somebody wants rid of them, we must rewind a few years to get the full story.  The story takes Sim and Freda across the globe, even stopping off at the wonderfully imaginative exclusive sea state of Marinus, as they track terrorists and encounter double agents.

Hidden throughout the book like little easter eggs are quotes and references to so many movies that I lost count.  The author lists these movies in his notes at the end and I was surprised to see how many I had missed.  Of course, when you are engrossed in the story you don't always spot things like this until they are pointed out but I found it quite fun to spot them as I was reading.  I did laugh out loud when Sim said that he hadn't heard of Star Wars, which he refers to as an ancient two-dimensional film!  As unbelievable as that sounds, it did a very good job of reminding me that I was reading a book set in the future when Star Wars would be over half a century old.

As someone with a keen interest in Roman history, I was delighted with the SPQR reference.  Not used in reference to the state of Rome in this case but to remind OFWAT agents to Serve, Protect, Quench and Ration.  I thought this was a great way to bring a little piece of ancient history along for the ride into the future.

It's quite fast paced and flicks rapidly back and forth between characters, but I do have to admit to the odd moment of confusion and sometimes I couldn't have really told you what was going on but it didn't stop me reading, mainly due to the magnetic pull of the two main characters: Sim and Freda.  Although there are some exciting and gripping moments that maintain the high pace, I would have liked to have read more about the effects of the water shortage to perhaps really drive home the important message within the book. Blue Gold has taken a step in the right direction towards raising awareness of water shortages and kudos to David Barker for doing so; ultimately it is up to us to make a difference before the fiction we have just read becomes reality.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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