Adam Thorpe, born 1956 in Paris, has written 11 novels and some poetry, but I have only now made his acquaintance, and what a rewarding experience it is, beginning with the title, which is the noun to “fly” and “flee”, thus summing up the story in a nutshell.
We meet the pilot Bob Winrush, who used to fly long distance passenger planes, but is now a “freight dog” transporting goods all over the world. He stepped back from his latest assignment, when he discovered that their load was arms for the Djihad in Afghanistan. When he comes home earlier than planned he finds his wife Olivia in bed with her Swiss masseur and walks into a nasty divorce.
He now is working for an Emirate prince in Dubai. But again disaster strikes and he is made redundant, because the men behind the arms deal are looking for him. He returns to Britain. A journalist interviews him about the aborted weapons mission. Although he is very careful about what he says he is threatened by those who want to cover their tracks.
A colleague offers him refuge on a small island in the Outer Hebrides, a house without electricity or other mod cons, but he feels safe there at first.
Here Thorpe is at his best, describing the harsh landscape and living conditions. Bob befriends Judith, a young environmentalist, and settles down, phoning his colleague on the Bahamas from time to time. He hears troubling news, never leaves the house without his gun and has to stand up and fight in the end.
This is a really gripping, fascinating read written by a brilliant author.