Kenyon introduces us to Joe, a man who, on the surface, believes all the right things about people in general, about their motivations and most importantly about racism and nationalism in a post-Brexit Britain.
Joe has every reason to be angry and to be suspicious of the alarming growth in radical Islamic teachings among the young Muslims in Britain. His father was an innocent victim in a terrorist action several years earlier, his Mother, unable to cope, had turned to the bottle and was heading for an early grave. Joe, himself, was suffering from depression, for which he was on strong medication, addiction to alcohol, and horrific nightmares that daily threatened to overwhelm him... and yet, Joe was still not prepared to blame an entire section of humanity for the brutal actions of a few extremists. Joe, despite all his problems, was just an average "Joe", struggling to keep his head above water in a job he didn't particularly like and trying to make sense of a world that seemed to be going crazier by the minute. Joe was ripe to be manipulated and manipulated he was.
Seeking some love, some sense of family, Joe finally finds it in the form of his mysterious Uncle Steve, who has been ostracised from the family, for reasons Joe is unable to recall.
Kenyon has woven a wonderfully, complex tale that offers us a portal into a world that may well already be here; a world of lies, of half-truths, of racial and ethnic stereotyping, of rampant nationalism that is capable of turning normally rational and idealistic people into slaves of hate and violence.
This is an absolute page-turner. I couldn't put it down once I started it and although some of the plot arcs were fairly predictable at times, it was nonetheless riveting to read and to speculate on this "brave" new world we seem intent on creating around ourselves these days. Scary and important to read and think about, Swiftly Sharpens the Fang is a must-read in today's crazy world. Five stars and more for this winner from Stuart Kenyon.