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Ultimatum by Frank Gardner
We met last Friday to discuss 'Ultimatum' by Frank Gardner. One member really liked the book and thought it interesting and a page turner. Another member really hated it and couldn't find anything commendable to say about the book. The rest of us found aspects to praise and aspects to criticise. We all felt that with its short chapters the book had been written with either a film or TV drama in mind.

Set in Iran this up to date and topical book follows a British agent sent to Iran to foil and neutralise a plot that could unleash another Gulf War, or even lead to a more widespread conflict. The strength of this book lies in Gardner's knowledge and understanding of the politics of the area. Most of us felt that when he was describing the meetings and discussions between the commanders of the submarines, the politicians, and officers of various committees that here Gardner was on safe ground and we could trust him. The global importance of the area reminded us how topical his story is. Where we felt he was on weak ground was with his characters both male and female; he was unable to convey depth or the right emotions. This was especially obvious in the main character where the combination of soft-heartedness and brutality was completely unbelievable.

Overall most of us were pleased to have read the book simply because the good parts of the book outweighed the weaknesses.