A Single Source

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

What a wonderfully expansive and revealing novel with such a sure-footed exposition of the themes and people shaping our world. 

For me its best scenes are from Eritrea, a part of the world so few get to see or understand but which is fuelling the biggest story of the decade, the migrant crisis that has shaped European politics. It is so rare to have that society so sensitively portrayed in a way that the news has never properly reached. 

This only slightly rises above the unwavering depiction of the dawn of the Arab spring, seen here through the events in Cairo in 2011, a story that felt like a blip in a wider narrative but as we see in this novel warrants greater inquiry. 

It is not just the central characters of Carver and Patrick - both always entertaining - which are fully formed. Peter Hanington never wavers in ensuring even minor people in his story are given full dimension. 

It is a page turner, it is a thriller, but it is also a carefully considered pull-together of a tapestry of events that the daily news has been unable to crystallise. I thoroughly recommend it!
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A gréât political thriller spanning through different countries and characters. Well worth the read and full of suspense
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Although a little slow to get going and with a somewhat idiosyncratic writing style that involved multiple narratives, this book proved very enjoyable and engaging. The various stories eventually combine in a satisfying denouement that is all the more credible as it engages with current and recent history. Characters are well-drawn and the writing is fluent, so that it is easy for the reader to find that the planned 75 pages has easily become 150 without realising. The story arc embraces the Tahrir Square revolution in Egypt; complex political intrigue in London; corrupt UK arms manufacturers; migration from Eritrea and the actions of a trio of journalists in Cairo. The writer’s skill is seen in the way he weaves these different themes and characters into a pleasing and coherent storyline. Highly recommended.
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A Single Source is the second in the series featuring William Carver, a veteran BBC foreign correspondent, and his tenacious young producer, Patrick. They are in Cairo, covering the Arab Spring and the demonstrations in Tahrir Square.

Back in London, a former journalist and colleague of Carver is working in the Ministry of Defence putting a spin on some very unappealing corporate activities.

Meanwhile two youths in Eritrea are about to attempt to be smuggled into Europe as refugees.

Carver and Patrick form contacts with two young women. Zahra is working at the hotel where Carver is staying and acting as a fixer and translator, when she can avoid the watchful eye of the manager. Her friend Nawal is an activist . They bring him some explosive information. Carver wants to run the story but he needs to back it up and is aware his investigation can put Nawal in ever deeper danger.

I really enjoyed A Single Source, particularly when it focused on the characters in Egypt and Eritrea. The journalist characters are all convincing and real, unsurprising as the author is a BBC journalist himself, although it might have been interesting if one or two of them had gone against type.

The plot kept me guessing (I thought I had cleverly worked out the direction of one thread early on but was pleased to have been outwitted). I liked the way the three disparate stories finally came together.

This is a great political thriller which combines big events and the human stories behind them. It is both thoughtful and pacy in demonstrating how injustice in the region has roots worldwide.
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I appreciate the author’s in depth reporting knowledge but sadly for me there was something missing. Perhaps because the three stories are told with little empathy or emotion (just like a news reporter) but this gave the book a two dimensional feel.  However I appreciated the research and behind the scenes revelations.
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The Arab Spring was a media dream, the only story, you had to be there. William Carver however finds out some disturbing truths and starts to track them despite the protests of his editor. Yes there is always money to be made where there is unrest. The story centres on two schemes both common, illegal and international. Corruption and people trafficking. The most harrowing is the story of two brothers making the trip from Eritrea to Europe and describes in some details the horrors the thousands pay large sums of money to undertake. The book is using real life events and opening up the details of events going on from day to day in the real world.
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A disturbing insight into illegal arms deals, journalism and people trafficking.
Here is something original: a novel of three threads set against a backdrop of the Arab Spring. The central character is a BBC radio journalist and this adds a contemporary aspect. The book is mainly set in Cairo but also covers London, Eritrea, Sudan, Libya and eventually Rome. Very cosmopolitan.

The journalist has many quirks, attitudes and health issues, which serve to flesh him out. His female equivalent reminds me more of a stereotypical well-lived, flirty, confidant older woman, the type more suited to 1960s English spy drama. The lead characters in the other threads are identifiable enough.

The story is primarily about undercovering an illegal arms deal between a British company and north African countries. The London aspect is concerned with the Ministry of Defence and corporate dealings, while the third thread is solely about two boys trying to get to Europe via Italy. Their journey is the most powerful part in the book. The connection to the other parts is tenuous.

There are details of meetings and journalistic traits that add depth but often go on too long and make the story a little plodding in places. At other times there are harrowing depictions of the inhumane treatment and conditions of others, especially in the people smuggling sections. The deaths are few but stated in a prosaic way thus sapping any suspense.

The separate storylines are confusing at first as they seep into each other. As the book develops the stories become more distinct though. Other disjointed features are the constantly changing viewpoint, often in the same paragraph, which means that the story does not flow easily. Oh, and the number of characters who 'suck their teeth' and their 'jutting jaws' is very distracting.

​The three threads come together at the end - just about - and leave the BBC reporter available for more jobs.

#NetGalley #ASingleSource
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I haven't read a book by this author before but this one was very interesting. It was based around his experiences as a BBC reporter in the Middle East. It is quite complex but the threads do come together in a great conclusion.
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'A Single Source', not the description a reporter would be too happy to attribute to their story. However, as a reader we can see from Peter Hanington's novel (which is multi-threaded) many perspectives. The novel follows migrants, reporters, journalists, idealists, despots, politicians and armament manufacturers. Plenty of meat there to get your teeth into. It has great writing style, pace, dark humour and many thought provoking passages. I cannot get out of my mind why William Carver effectively left Nawal to her fate at the hands of Balit's torturers. Was the story worth it?
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I absolutely loved a dying breed the debut novek by this author and was really looking forward to the follow up - and here it is. It doesn't disappoint. The setting is mainly on Egypt during the uprising and follows 2 reporters caught up in reporting the unrest and the people they meet along the way  The author who is a respected reported is not surprisingly authentic in his storytelling and description of events. It is movng and gripping and beautifully written. A wholehearted recommendation from me.
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I received a copy of this book from net galley in exchange for an honest review. William Carver a journalist for the BBC is sent to cover The arab Spring in Egypt. During his time there he spends less time on the political tension in Egypt than on another story about arms and arsenal provision to the country.

However this is not the only storyline but runs alongside the narrative following the escape off two Eritreans to Europe as refugees. For much of the book I did wonder why this was of importance. When the connection was revealed it was something of a disappointment

I liked the way the book was broken up and the depiction of events through Datelines and an almost reportage style of storytelling. I think the author has captured the sense of danger, resistance and political power and created characters that fit their roles. 

Overall though I didn't feel fully involved in the narrative and for me there was something missing that would have allowed it to jump from the page. I felt the Refugee journey was almost over emphasised. For me the ending seemed rushed after all the detail in the rest of the book.

I can see some literary style but am not drawn into this author's writing and cannot see myself reading more by him
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Excellent and well-researched thriller about journalism and its connections with diplomacy. This has all the hallmarks of a good series as the characters develop. Would attract readers of e.g. Charles Cumming. I look forward to reading more about the veteran reporter William Carver.
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I haven’t read anything by this author and this sounded like a rather different read.

It combines a number of interesting issues; conflict, ethnicity and migration, politics and underhand business deals. The setting is contemporary and that added to the authenticity. I found it a little slow to get into, but stuck with it and overall, the narrative is hard edged and occasionally quite harrowing. The central characters are plausible enough, but I’d have liked to know them a little better. They’re a bit one dimensional. However, there’s enough plot and action to keep the story moving and I’d certainly read more by this author.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.
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William Carver is a veteran radio journalist with a track record of getting bored with the main story and looking at new issues that he picks up.  The year is 2011 and he's in Cairo to cover the demonstrations in Tahir Square against the regime in the Arab Spring.  A local blogger finds evidence of tear gas canisters that should not have been sold to Egypt by a UK source - this is Carver's side issue and the arms manufacturer really doesn't want him to expose it.  Fast moving, well researched and  written - a good read.
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Sorry but i failed to get to the end of this book, struggled with any sense of direction and ended up wondering what am i reading closely followed by why.
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It's the authenticity that rules this fragmented and edgy story set in technology times in Egypt .. .. we also eavesdrop on exchanges we are not fully prepared for.. and there is a harrowing story of migrants attempting to escape and the harsh criminals taking their money and 'helping' them in the cruelest ways.  The main protagonist is a journalist working on a story of murderous corruption that takes the lives of a brave resistance leader, and a stalwart fellow newspaper woman.  Immersive often due to its fragmentary dialogue,  the scene setting is dazzling.  Really haunting.
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Topical but tragic

Though this felt a shade fragmented at times the threads eventually came together and led to a hope that some kind of justified resolution could be achieved.
It is sad that this book appears to reflect actual global events and today’s political and business cynicism but perhaps they have always been there below the surface.
Hanington paints a skilled picture of how life must be for refugees and political resisters, drawing the reader into the story. There are few ‘happy ever afters’, perhaps the reality of life in these countries.
I look forward to the author’s next book.
This book was provided as an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Note : I posted the above review on Amazon 8 June 2019.
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I find myself almost lost for words in terms of how to review this book. It's certainly thrilling and I always love a story that has a British political spin to it as I'm super interested in that area. However, I just felt that I was going through the motions after a certain period in the story. 

There are a few different storylines and they converge fairly well, so that was satisfying, yet I almost feel cheated out of a much more conclusive ending.

The characters were interesting although not particularly fleshed out. It almost felt like I was reading Book 8 in a detective series where you're just supposed to know how these people roll. Not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.

Overall, a real page turner and some moments of real tension and fear but lacking an ending that matches the rest of the novel.

Thanks to John Murray Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy for review.
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A very complex story set in Egypt,London and Eritrea. Took a while to bring all the threads together but got there in the end.
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Not normally my type of book to read but wow! So.much going on in this novel how does it all the together? Who can be trusted? Where will it all lead? Corrupt armies along with people willing to be bribed and human smuggling make this book very intriguing. The routes people have to take to get out of their country, even told from their point of you.
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