A Single Source

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed this book although it is actually several stories in one, each explored in depth.
The main story and the one reporter Carver is focusing on is set in Cairo. It focuses on the events of the Arab Spring.  Running apparently disconnected to this is the story of human trafficking from Eritrea told sympathetically in the voice of two young brothers leaving their home. 
The book is gripping and tense the story being uncovered is very believable and at times shocking. It's well written and well researched.  There are more books appt Carver although this is first I have read.  I shall be looking into the others.
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A Single Source is the second book by Peter Hanington starring the reporter William Carver and it is another one that I would recommend. 

The author clearly knows his subject and whilst I thought that the scene setting was a bit overlong and drawn out the pace definitely picks up in the second half of the book until the final twists

The book can easily be read as a standalone although I would recommend that you also read the first book as it will add to your enjoyment

Recommended
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Well where do I start with this book? For the first few chapters I kept getting confused. As in actual fact you have 3 stories occurring on in the same timeline. At first it seemed very disjointed as it skips from one view point to another and you don’t know which characters are which, until the story starts to unfold more.

The main story is about William Carver a veteran radio journalist and his younger producer/co worker Patrick who both work for the BBC. The year is 2011 and they are in Cairo reporting on the Arab Spring Uprising.

The uprising is being lead by the younger generation giving Patrick the producer better understanding of what the demonstrators are asking for. As they are using all of the modern media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to gain momentum and support from their followers, and also encouraging them to go stand along side them.

The second story revolves around two brothers Gebre and Solomon Hassan from Asmara, Eritrea and their struggle to leave their own country to get a better life for themselves in Europe. Their grandfather pays a lot of money to traffickers to take his grandsons north across the Sahara. On their journey both brothers are witness to such terrible horrors as they are taken crossed the Sahara, in cramped conditions. How people were falling out of the trucks and the traffickers just carried on driving basically leaving them to die, as all they are interested in is the money they make.

The third story is based in London around Rob Mariscal an Ex colleague of William Carver’s, who now works for the MOD as a spin doctor who is desperately trying to cover up the story that Carver is starting to unfold.

Sadly I can only give this book 2 stars, as I’ve already said that it jumps from one story to the next. If the book had been structured in a different way it would have been a much more enjoyable book to read.
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This book is wide ranging, taking in London, Cairo and Eritrea, and many points in between.  It is also wide ranging in content and ideas, including the Arab spring, migrants and bigotry.
Despite its broad sweep, it is fast and pacy once it gets into its stride.  The human cost of politics is clearly, and often heartbreakingly, evident.  Well researched and authoritative, but with a light enough touch to keep us engaged.
Well worth a read
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC
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Peter Hanington is a BBC journalist and this shows very strongly in his new thriller, A Single Source. The book is set in the Arab Spring of 2011 and follows three parallel tracks. The main track is around a BBC journalist called William Carver and his colleague Patrick, who are sent to Cairo to cover the unfolding events there, but there are subsidiary plot strands involving two brothers so desperate to leave Eritrea and find a better future in Europe that they are prepared to undertake a hugely dangerous journey, and a former BBC editor who has now changed sides and is working in the press office of the Ministry of Defence.

Carver is a maverick, old school journalist who is a luddite when it comes to technology but has a nose for a story and for finding the best sources. A brilliant story comes to him, but he only has a single source, and with forces trying to push him off course he fights a battle to get the story on air.

The writing around the fictionalised version of the Arab Spring is very evocative and I very much enjoyed reading a journalist’s view of what was unfolding and how it was reported. Hanington’s BBC credentials mean that this is wholly believable and authentic (sometimes too much so, as some of his references to Broadcasting House are a bit niche). Carver is a hugely flawed character, but you can’t help rooting for him. I felt the plot strand involving the brothers from Eritrea was a little neglected – although the description of their journey was heartbreaking, I felt the weaving in of this to the main plot was underdone. Overall though, a really good and educational read, and understandably praised by many other journalists.
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An action read. Well researched but a slow burner. Saying that once all the characters are in play this book takes off like a rocket. The story of arms dealing, corrupt governments and a BBC reporter. I am not going to say any more YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!
Spanning many countries but mainly set in Egypt. This is a real page turning action read. Packed with tension, suspense and so much corruption. A masterpiece of story telling which kept reading and thoroughly entertained late into the night. I am one very tired and very happy reader. An easy five stars and so Highly Recommended. 
I would like to thank the author, John Murray Press and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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I did have reservations in regards to choosing this book to read, as it is not a genre that i would usually read.  Now and again, I do like to try something totally different and so glad that i did.  It was a very enjoyable read and one that i can recommend.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy.  This is my honest review.
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William Carver is a BBC Radio journalist who has landed up in Cairo to report on the Arab Spring uprising. So has the rest of the world's journalists. Carver likes to think of himself as a "vertical" journalist who explores a story in depth, creating news. He is disdainful of the "horizontal" journalists who simply commentate on events around them. 

Carver - and his youthful producer Patrick - first appeared in A Dying Breed, a superior conspiracy thriller set in Afghanistan. They are an odd couple - like Dr Who and his assistant - providing both a second point of view and a useful pretext for expository dialogue. 

A Single Source gets off to a slower start than A Dying Breed - perhaps because Carver has only just landed in Cairo himself and needs to discover his story and his network - but when it starts to grip, it is just as gripping as the debut novel. Carver meets up with a couple of Egyptian protestors, one of whom runs a twitter feed from Tahrir Square. They collect up some of the gas canisters, rubber bullets and truncheons used against the protestors and this causes some discomfort at the highest level.

Meanwhile, back in London, the former editor of the Today programme has started out a new career as Director of Communications at the Ministry of Defence. The MoD is in something of a bind, wanting to support the friendly Mubarak regime but also wanting to end up backing the winner if the Mubarak regime falls. And all the time, wanting to promote British defence exports...

Interleaved with this, there is the story of two Eritrean brothers looking to start a new life in Europe, left to the mercy of people traffickers. This can feel like a distraction, but it puts a human face on some of the massive upheaval that has been going on behind the changes of government and political headlines. It will hopefully make the English (yes English, not British) voters ashamed for supporting Brexit in a futile attempt to stop the influx of migrants from the Middle East who were displaced by poor UK foreign policy. 

Overall, A Single Source is a tense read with plenty of politics and double crossing. As in A Dying Breed, the morals are sometimes ambiguous and the reader is left to imagine the final denouement - traits of a superior thriller.

It is a good and bloody read.
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A great read, gripping and well-researched. If you like action novels this is a must for you. Set in multiple locations it follows the plight of war reporters in Egypt covering the anti-government uprising in Egypt, Eritrean refugees fleeing for a better life, a corporation illegally selling arms and the British Government trying to contain the fallout. The novel starts quite slowly but as we get to meet the characters and understand the parts they play, it quickly evolves into a fast paced story, unravelling the situation and the subsequent consequences of each action.
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A remarkably well written story but was slow to start with. 

William Carver, BBC reporter, is given a lead on a story from an old friend, regarding unrest in Egypt, he along with his sound man Patrick travel to the country to get ahead start on the story before the rest of the press descend. They are helped along the way by hotel receptionist, Zahara, and her friend Nawal.

The story is intermingled with one regarding two brothers, Solomon and Gebre, who are fleeing Eritrea, the price they pay and also the long treacherous journey they undertake. You do wonder what this has to do with the main story, but all becomes clear at the end.

Good and interesting characters, sadness with some of the stories, and also the questions about the machinations of governments and arms dealers. Supposedly fiction but as always, more than a hint of truth in sadly.

My thanks to NetGalley and publisher John Murray Press-Two Roads for giving me the chance to read the book in exchange for an honest review.
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This title meshes fact and fiction in such a way as the difference becomes immaterial.
Government corruption, people trafficking, reporters, insurrection, religion, freedom and innocence.
Mixed together this forms a very readable thriller which encapsulates some of the real problems of the modern world.
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This is the first novel of Peter Hanington I am reading and a little nervous as this is not my usual genre.
This book tells the story of war reporter William Carver and what happened during the Arab Spring. Also caught up the the Arab Spring are two Eritrean brothers trying to get to Khartoum.
A journalistic story set in various countries including London and Eritrea, there are plenty of interesting characters. Very much like a spy story, it is well told and captures the moment. A gripping, sad read as the characters come together.
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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher John Murray Press-Two Roads for the ARC.
I thought this book to be really intriguing and an enjoyable read.  I haven't read the author's previous book, so for me is a standalone. 

Veteran BBC reporter William Carver, together with his young producer Patrick, visit old-friend Jemima McCluskey who works at the BBC monitoring station at Cavershsam.  She hands over reports coming in from primarily North African regions, suggesting something big was about to happen in relation to the Arab Spring.  William and Patrick have a head start now on other reporting agencies and head for Cairo.  There, a pro-democracy campaigner Nawal is maintaining a twitter feed coordinating the occupation of Tahrir Square.

In Eritrea 2 brothers, Gebre and Solomon Hassan are preparing to make the dangerous journey across North Africa to Europe, their Grandfather having paid a contact to arrange this.

In Whitehall, London, Rob Mariscal - an ex-BBC reporter and ex-colleague of William, is now Head of Communications (spin doctor) for the MOD, with Leslie Craig as Permanent Secretary.

The story takes us into the passionate atmosphere of the uprising; the use of modern technology to disseminate information, and the callousness of the rulers.  Alongside this is the harrowing journey the Eritrean brothers are taking - the degradation, cruelty and abuse.  
Meanwhile - William discovers another story; who's supplying new-style crowd-control weaponry to the region, and how is it getting there.

All these strands can only be pulled together if William can only find that Single Source - the one participant who was there, who could provide the evidence.  It takes a while and a lot of disappointments and heartbreak but the twist provides the answer.

Thoroughly engrossing!
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Incredible story. I knew so little about the Arab Spring before I started this book and so much more about how it impacted innocent and everyday people from all walks of life by the end. With corruption threaded in and out of the three strands of the story, there was a sense of inevitability about the way things could only end badly for people who were just in search of making a better life for themselves and others. One not to put down until you reach the very end.
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I was rather disappointed in A Single Source.  I enjoyed A Dying Breed very much, but I didn’t think this was nearly so well done.

Patrick Hanington uses his two protagonists, an old-school BBC radio reporter and his young producer, to illustrate some of what happened in the Arab Spring in 2011 and also to analyse what the refugee/migrant “crisis” really means for those making their dangerous, sometimes horrific journeys.  He writes from the heart and with genuine knowledge, and these are very important matters – but I’m afraid it doesn’t make a very good novel.

I found the fractured structure of the book rather irritating as it cuts between two stories and then between viewpoints within the stories, which broke up any sense of flow or development.  To make this worse, Hanington’s style is a bit plodding, with rather stolidly described characters and situations.  He also does what he managed largely to avoid in his first book, which is to go in for too much worthy journalistic exposition at the expense of the story.  There is a balance to be struck between these things and for me he doesn’t get it right here.  It’s a hazard for journalists, even very good journalists, when they write novels; I felt the same about Holly Watt’s To The Lions, for example.  Others manage it very well (Terry Stiastny springs to mind) and so did Hanington last time, but this was a struggle for me and I can’t really recommend it.

(My thanks to John Murray for an ARC via NetGalley.)
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A Single Source by Peter Hanington
Published by Two Roads Books
Publication date: 02 May 2019

Peter Hanington’s debut novel, A Dying Breed, made it on to my shortlist of recommendations last year. It was a clever, well-written political thriller that reminded me of the best of John le Carré, but I found, with its focus on journalism rather than the intelligence community, for me, it was even more compelling. So when I had the opportunity (courtesy of NetGalley) to read an advanced copy of Hanington’s follow-up, A Single Source, I had high hopes. High hopes are almost always a recipe for disappointment, but within a couple of chapters, I could tell there was no need to worry. 

A Single Source brings us back into the world of the cynical, somewhat antisocial, journalist William Carver and back in time to 2011, during the Arab Spring, right into the heart of the January 25 Revolution in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. With an interesting cast of characters, from journalists and politicians to arms dealers and refugees, some clearly inspired by real-world figures, the story unfolds. Through different parts of the world—London, Egypt, Eritrea, and beyond—multiple strands weave together to form an entertaining and clever whole. 

I was living in the Middle East during this time and while I can’t attest to the accuracy of Hanington’s representation of the events on the ground because I was in Doha and nowhere near the centre of things, I can say (for having been peripherally involved), I am impressed by how he managed to capture the online atmosphere and feeling, the sense of liberation, the sense that the people’s ability to take the future into their own hands was at least partially enabled by social media.

As in A Dying Breed, Hanington shows us a world behind the one most of us inhabit, makes it tangible and wholly believable. You have the feeling that, though he’s sharing it in fiction form (and eminently readable fiction at that), he’s giving us a little glimpse behind the curtain, asking readers to open their eyes and question what goes on and why.  

I have no doubt that A Single Source will be on my recommendations shortlist this year. It will be published by Two Roads Books on 02 May, 2019. If you haven’t read A Dying Breed, I suggest you do so between now and then; although it doesn’t strictly need to be read before A Single Source, I think you’ll enjoy both books more if you read them in this order.
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I was so looking forward to this. I’d loved “the FYI g breed” and worried that Mr Hanington would suffer from that second book syndrome. But fear not this is even better. 

Journalist William Carver is as difficult and irascible a dinosaur as ever but he is dogged, honest and persistent and is like a dog with a bone when he smells out a story. 

This tells the story of the Arab Spring and the revolution in Egypt tied up with illicit arms sales abroad and the Ministry of Defence as well as the desperate plight of refugees taking a desperately dangerous escape route to Italy. 

In parts funny, in others sad the book is all about moral choices and whether or not to do the right thing. 

Some do, others don’t but the various story threads are all tied together beautifully at the end and softy though I was I cried. 

This is a wonderful book written by someone who knows this murky world inside out from his own journalistic experience and I hope this is a massive best seller as it deserves to be one.
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