The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels, but writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. Rachel Amphlett has just recently added book #4, Behind the Wire, to the Dan Taylor series.
Up until this most recent novel, the general theme of Rachel Amphlett’s Dan Taylor series has focused on the world’s demand on energy and the consequences that could occur as the world begins to change over from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources. The villains in this series are money-grubbing energy corporations or corrupt governments that are looking to gain profit or power no matter the cost to civilization. The villains in Behind the Wire also fall into this category, but instead of focusing on energy sources they are looking into gaining rights to the very lucrative phosphate mining in the disputed regions of Western Sahara.
The story takes off not long after the events that took place in Amphlett’s previous novel, Three Lives Down, with our military trained geologist, Dan Taylor, residing in Morocco on a forced early retirement from his occupation with the United Kingdom’s Energy Protection Group, a covert government operation designed to protect the UK’s energy sources from terrorist or any other threat whether it being foreign or domestic. Taylor’s former boss, David Ludlow, decides that it would not be in Taylor’s best interest to live a tranquil, lazy life on his fishing boat and contacts him to do a favor. Ludlow’s favor involves US General Bartholomew Collins’ daughter, who has run into some rather nasty difficulties in the Moroccan-occupied region of Western Sahara. So, instead of the general sending in military intervention into the politically fragile region of Western Sahara, why not send Taylor, who just happens to be in Morocco and doesn’t have anything really to do. Taylor most likely would have said, ‘take a hike’, if it weren’t for the fact that he likes the general and his daughter. So he takes on the task and the rest of the novel is Taylor and the general’s daughter trying to escape from the hostile lands of Western Sahara and avoiding being killed by the bad guys.
Behind the Wire is a relatively quick read with plenty of action, which is perfect for a lazy afternoon. Dan Taylor is a fun character with a heart of gold which makes me look forward to more Dan Taylor in the future. My only complaint is that I wished Amphlett went into more detail on events occurring in Western Sahara. As I was reading this novel, I found that I was clueless about what is going on in that region of the world, a little more background would have made it easier to comprehend the fragile relationship between the Moroccans and the native population known as the Sahrawi and how it ties in with the storyline. For the most part, this book could be read as a standalone, but it wouldn’t hurt to read Three Lives Down to find out why Dan Taylor is fishing in Morocco.
To learn more about the series check out a review of the Dan Taylor Series.