Cover image for A line in the sand : a novel
A line in the sand : a novel
Seymour, Gerald.
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Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Physical Description:
398 pages ; 25 cm
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Just when he, was beginning to feel safe, Frank Perry's past has surfaced with a vengeance. Ten years ago, Perry made powerful enemies by spying for the British government on Iranian chemical and biological weapons installations. His information served to cripple Iran's killing capacity for years. Now, Iran is exacting its revenge -- and dispatching its most deadly assassin to do the job. Code-named the Anvil, the assassin moves with stealth toward Perry's asylum on the coast of Suffolk. As elaborate preparations are made to ensure Perry's safety, an unexpected new threat arises in the form of the local citizenry. Fearing for their lives, the community closes ranks against him, and Perry is left to rend for himself against a remorseless, faceless adversary.

From the author Time Out calls "one of the best plotters in the business" comes a brilliantly constructed contemporary parable on how history invariably and profoundly haunts the present. A Line in the Sand is a wonderful and penetrating depiction of life in the age of terrorism.

Author Notes

Gerald Seymour was born on November 25, 1941 in Guilford, Surrey, England. He received a BA Honors degree in Modern History from University College London. He was a broadcast journalist who covered many overseas conflicts including the Vietnam War, the Munich Olympics massacre, and Palestinian militant groups.

His first book, Harry's Game, was published in 1975 and soon afterwards, he retired from journalism to become a full-time author. Many of his other books were adapted into television movies and Field of Blood was adapted as the feature film, The Informant, starring Timothy Dalton.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

High Noon meets George Smiley in this fascinating, unsettling novel about a community that turns its back on one of its own when his past comes back to haunt him. Five years earlier, Frank Perry helped the West slow Iran's production of weapons of mass destruction by providing information that indirectly caused the deaths of more than a score of military scientists and engineers. Now Iran's top assassin is on his way to a small, unnamed town in southern England to even the score by killing Perry. When the British Secret Service's protective measures interfere with daily life, the neighbors try to force Perry and his family to leave town. Seymour has nothing good to say about Iranians, and he is equally disdainful of the Secret Service, bankers, Americans, and the general run of English country folk. Still, he builds the suspense to a nearly unbearable level and then masterfully drives home his point that all terrorism is ultimately pointless. --George Needham

Publisher's Weekly Review

Cleverly observed smalltown social dynamics, brilliantly paced suspense and a plot driven as much by character as action prove again why English thriller writer Seymour (Dead Ground; The Journeyman Taylor) is a master of the form. Five years ago, Frank Perry was Gavin Hughes, sharp young salesman for an engineering manufacturing company and spy for the British government. As a spy, Perry successfully sabotaged Iran's chemical weapons industry. Forced underground, he has lived under an assumed identity for several years in a small English village on the coast of Suffolk. When Perry inadvertently betrays his whereabouts, Iranian agents locate him and dispatch their top hit man to kill him. Tipped off to the threat, the British Security Service tries to convince Perry to move away. He adamantly refuses, saying he's done running. The security service sends in a huge task force of armed guards to protect Perry and his wife and son. As the killerDcode name AnvilDbides his time hiding out in the surrounding marshland, Perry and his family find their lives turned upside down, first by the pushy demands of their bodyguards, then by the hostility of their friends and neighbors. One by one, the villagers turn against the family, whom they blame for putting them at risk. Seymour's depiction of village lifeDthe broken ambitions, the petty jealousies, the social cliquesDis drawn in such fine detail that the provincial milieu becomes a fascinatingly appropriate setting for a showdown between international combatants. The plot moves along with deceptive cool, relying on tension between characters, offscreen action and telling commentary about the shady world of foreign relations to create a rare, smart thriller. Agent, Peter Matson. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

An engineering salesman was a spy for British intelligence, providing details of Iranian biological and chemical weapons plants. Living under a new identity with his wife and stepson in a Suffolk village, Frank Perry becomes the target of an assassin, and the villagers turn against him for placing their lives at risk. Seymour's tale switches between the Perrys and their neighbors, the often embattled intelligence officers and police trying to protect them, and the determined killer, with the target seeming to do everything he can to make his protectors' job more difficult. Often compared to John le Carr, Seymour lacks the master's subtlety, spelling out his themes too obviously. Anthony Head handles the narrative passages well but overacts during the frequent, loud arguments between characters. The author is most successful with minor characters like the eccentric civilian enlisted to track down the assassin and with ironic touches such as acts of kindness having fatal consequences. Recommended for public libraries.DMichael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.