Stephen Leather

Fair Game

"Spider make a fine lead character with his devotion to duty, outrage at injustice and his unswerving manner."


Somali pirates seize a yacht off the coast of Africa and end up with problems they couldn't foresee. Kidnapping is one of the cruellest crimes and putting live at risk for cash is always a dangerous business for both the kidnappers and kidnapped.

One of the crew members who they have kidnapped is the God-daughter of the British Prime Minister and Dan “Spider” Shepherd is brought in to effect a rescue. He goes undercover in a daring plan to infiltrate the kidnapper's lair and bring the reign of terror to an end.

As Spider closes in on the kidnappers he realises that there is far more at stake than the hostage's lives when he learns of a terrorist plot to strike at the centre of London.

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Stephen Leather is one of the UK's finest thriller writers and with Spider Shepherd has a fantastic lead character for his escapades. Fair Game sees Spider at his best as he tackles pirates, IRA hit-men and terrorists. Leather has the rare knack of writing in such a way that you almost feel as if you are watching a film such is the crystalline clarity of his prose and descriptive passages. I could see every scene all laid out in front of me as I devoured chapter after chapter late into the night. (Personal sleep deprivation is not a good idea but hard to resist with books this good) The plot is neither complicated nor overly simple. Instead it fits nicely into the story and gives motives and reasoning where required. There is definitely some follow on of the theme of vigilantism from Rough Justice as Spider is amazed at the impotence of the authorities to prevent piracy and deal with the pirates when captured. Happily, Spider takes matters into his own hands in a wonderful “Under Siege” style rampage aboard a cargo ship. Spider make a fine lead character with his devotion to duty, outrage at injustice and his unswerving manner. He is ably assisted by friends and colleagues alike although for me the only others worth a real mention are the baddies, Crazy Boy, Two Knives and Blue. Everything about this novel made sound logical sense to me and the world would be a better place if more forces for good like Spider existed.

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