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October 15, 2015



In September 1984, a man calling himself Roy Walsh checked into The Grand Hotel in Brighton, England, and planted a bomb in room 629. The device, was set on a long delay timer that pushed the limits of engineering skill at that time,was primed to explode in twenty-four days, six hours and six minutes, when intelligence had confirmed that Margaret Thatcher and her whole cabinet would be staying in the hotel.  
Taking us inside one of the twentieth century’s most ambitious assassination attempts – ‘making history personal’, as one character puts it – Lee’s novel moves between the luxurious hospitality of a British tourist town and the troubled city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the height of the armed struggle between the Irish Republican Army and those loyal to the UK government.
My review
Jonathan Lee has been described as a British writer on the cusp of greatness in supple prose that make room for laughter as well as tears, his third novel, High Dive is a darkly intimate portrait of how the ordinary unfolds into tragedy. High Dive is a fascinating look into a troubled past. In taunt scene after taunt scene, with a fine style and wit among the carnage, Jonathan Lee does service to history and the novel. The story of High Dive is a work of fiction.  The three principal characters Dan, Freya and Moose are inventions. Many of the incidents in the book are entirely imagined by Jonathan Lee. The story of High Dive begins when Dan was eighteen a man he didn’t know took him a trip across the border. In September 1984, a man calling himself Roy Walsh checked into the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England and planted a bomb in room 629.  Five people lost their lives in the bombing of the Grand Hotel. Many more suffered serious injuries. Several survivors were permanently disabled by the blast. In june of 1986, Patrick Magee was found guilty of planting an explosive device in room 629, and of murdering the five people who died as a result of his actions. He was released from prison under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.



From → book review

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