Red Ground is a little bit of a departure for Fry, in that it is a military-based, suspense thriller as opposed to the spy-types in some of his other work. Reading Red Ground, I couldn't help but wonder if it had some personal basis for Fry. Either that or his research is meticulous and accurate. I shouldn't be surprised, though, it always is.
Red Ground is set in the vicious, killing fields that were and are the West African civil wars. Set on the border of Sierra Leone and Liberia, the book chronicles the attempt of an insane General, Icechi (Body Chop) Walker to seize a part of Southern Sierra Leone, rich in oil and diamonds, and declare a new state (Salonga), of which he will, of course, be potentate and King.
The story is told from both the first person perspective of a British mercenary recruited to guard the new King and the third person perspective. I found the alternating use of perspectives to be an interesting way of relating the tale. It allowed us to get very up close and personal with the British squaddie, Alex Dalloway and also take in the other characters actions and perspectives. An ingenious use of perspective, in my opinion. A good job Fry.
Red Ground was simply superb and everything I've come to expect from this immensely talented author. Absolutely worth every one of the five-stars and more, that I've awarded it. A fantastic read.
If I was to take one thing away from this horrific tale of genocide and mutilation it would be that famous quote from Edmund Burke; "All that is required, for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing." Sadly, all around the world, but especially in West Africa, that is far too often the case.
What a triumph Mr Fry!