Book - Anti-Hero


What would Kurt Russell do? Steve Taylor-Bryant is holding out for an Anti-Hero as he reads the book by Jonathan Wood and Titan Books...

The aforementioned title is the third book in the Arthur Wallace series by Jonathan Wood and the best so far. I'm a huge fan of novels written in the first person. A natural narration by the story's main protagonist is not for everyone and I get that but when it comes to, well, for want of a better term, batshit crazy storytelling, it really helps and the Arthur Wallace novels are as crazy as they come.

Brief recap for those not familiar with the escapades of Arthur - ex detective brought into MI37 to save the world from strange occurrences usually involving occult magic or alien technology. He works with Head Agent Felicity, who is also his lover, Kayla who is a psychopathic swordsman from the Celtic North, Tabitha a computer geek with her own anger issues and staccato way of speaking, and Clyde who has gone from human to being uploaded into a Peruvian mask, to becoming computer software after Arthur had to kill him in the first book. MI37 have so far seen off alien Progeny, electricity based magic, psychotic Russians and zombie dinosaurs, so you kind of get the idea of what's facing you. It's basically a very well written core concept with incredible humour just waiting for Joss Whedon to discover and claim as his own. So, onto the third book as once again reluctant hero Arthur asks "what would Kurt Russell do".

At the funeral for Clyde, the MI37 team are attacked by drones and retreat to their Oxford base where they discover one of the downloads of Clyde, version 2.0, has decided to quite literally hack the planet and use nature to wipe out the human race to let the planet heal itself from man's abuses. The team travel to Area 51, a huge basement complex on New York City and, along with surfer dude CIA Agent Gran, try to work out just what 2.0 has done and plans to do before tracking him down and putting an end to his antics. Along the way they have to fight trash squid, golems made of fruit and vegetables, giant Rottweilers, mushrooms that fire out deadly spores and zombies. This all culminates in a final showdown in 2.0's Arctic Circle base where Gran wants to kill Clyde but Arthur wants to try and save the humans already affected by the zombie spores, including Felicity.

This is book three and you can tell Wood is now comfortable with his creation, as he ramps up the crazy and layers the humour on more than he did in the first two novels. The fact they were now up against one of their own as well as an American military hellbent on destruction makes for a compelling narrative and Wood certainly puts all the characters through the ringer, none more so than the unfortunate Arthur who again bares the brunt of an author's twisted imagination. The fight scenes, even with land squids made of Mexican refuse, are written at a breakneck pace which puts you right into the action and the added tech from Area 51 and the dude that is Gran add to an already familiar concept without overpowering the story or making the entire book seem repetitive, which is some feat three books in.

New readers are able to pick up Anti-Hero and join straight in with Arthur and the team as Wood weaves reminders of the first two novels into his writing and, for fans already wrapped up in the world of MI37, all three books have only actually spanned a timeline of a month or so, allowing for the tension to kick in from page one.

I am in love with the books of Jonathan Wood and can't wait for October when the fourth instalment is released, but for god's sake start recycling and wear your tinfoil hat because I have no idea where Wood will take us next.

Image - Amazon