D. G. COURTNEY, an alternative literary incarnation of the novelist, playwright, and screenwriter David Gurr, has cleverly put together an irresistible muxture in King's Cross (Quarry, 384 pages, $19.95 paper), one that trades on our seemingly insatiable appetite for Rambo-style, all-action narrative, while also working in the Ongoing debate about whether the institution Of the British Royal Family can, Or indeed should, survive Into the 21st century.
Colonel Hector Mackenzie, a hardy mid heroic but sensitive and sometimes downright emotional Royal Marine commando, is the equerry to the King Of England in this thriller, which is set in the not-too-distant future. With the Irish question nearly solved, and republicanism a Iegitimate topic A political debate in mainland Britain, the assassination Of the entire Royal Firmly sets Mackenzie oft in pursuit of the IRA psychopath mid killer Sean McDermid, while he also seeks to secure the safety of the only heir to the throne, a two-bit Australian actor who is the illegitimate son of a previous Prince Of Wales and the Aussie prime minister's wife.
Replete with shootings, abductions, detonations, and assorted instances of violent death, the action takes Mackenzie (and the reader) on an international chase that culminates in a nail biting mid cathartic high-drama finish.
King's Cross is often gripping, but it requires a lot -- an awful lot -- of willing suspension of disbelief: saviours turn Lip as villains are about to press the trigger and enemies penetrate security cordons at will. As well, Courtney has done little to bring his characters to life, with the exception of Mackenzie, who is perhaps larger than life.
What else? A good larding of gay and straight sex; language that alternate's between overblown and wooden; the extensive use of brand names and minutely detailed information about insignificant things to create verisimilitude; plenty of technology and armament; and the Inexorable (and totally Obvious) stage management of characters and events.
Or you could wait for the film.