The Hunt For A King: Scotland the Brave

 

ChaseKingScotland is poised on the brink of independence. A fatal car crash might not be accidental. The dead man’s son then disappears. Intelligence agencies and secret societies engage in a deadly treasure hunt to solve a series of intellectual puzzles… which might reveal the true heir to the Scottish crown. Given recent political events, this action-packed novella couldn’t be more timely!

This is the second CHASE novella to be translated, one of the ‘Mein KopfKino’ series. These are ‘movies for the mind’; complete, stand-alone stories which are intended to be read in a single sitting; an afternoon’s entertainment, equivalent to a 90 minute movie. You don’t need to have read the first one (‘The Hunt For The Mute Poetess’) to enjoy ‘The Hunt For A King’ – but the Mute Poetess adventure makes a great introduction to the series.

This time around, author Thomas Dellenbusch takes us on an action-packed adventure in modern-day Scotland. In the best tradition of the political thriller it combines a powerful tale of personal challenges (the death of a father; the loyalty of comrades) with a geopolitical crisis that could destabilise nations. If you enjoy historical thrillers like Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ then this CHASE is straight up your street. Plot twists and secret ciphers abound as Dellenbusch weaves a skein of convincing info about 5th century British history into the contemporary narrative. And there’s an eye-opening interpretation about one of England’s most famous myths – I can say no more…

If anything, the level of historical intricacy is both a blessing and a bit of a bane to this story. The sheer depth of background material brings the narrative to a screeching halt while earnest scholars expound upon the significance of their discoveries. This is a common problem with the genre – great dollops of donnish detail alternate with fast-paced episodes of peril – so you end up with a stop/go story. You’ll find this in big blockbuster bestsellers but it’s easier to disguise in a full-length novel. In a rapid read like CHASE, it makes for something of a bumpy ride.

However, that didn’t detract from my appreciation of the highly inventive plot. I also enjoyed spending time with other members of the CHASE investigation team – Chen Lu in particular. The translation is straightforward, not fussy, so that the language doesn’t get in the way of the story. This series originates from Germany but it’s thoroughly international in its tone. Don’t expect arthouse, stylised Eurocrime; it’s more like a Hollywood production. The result is a smart and sassy romp, intellectually and emotionally satisfying.

7/10

Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason

CHASE: The Hunt For A King by Thomas Dellenbusch is available as an ebook

Check out the video trailer here

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