Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Gun Seller - Hugh Laurie


I've adored Hugh Laurie for ages.  I loved him in Black Adder, in Jeeves & Wooster, in movies, and I'm sure I'd love him in the TV show House, but I'm a borderline hypochondriac and can't watch any hospital / doctor show without coming down with the virus, bacterial infection, tumor, or broken bones of the week.  Laurie is multitalented  -  an actor, a musician, a writer  -  and well-educated.  A delight.

The Gun Seller is laced with glib dialog and amusing innuendo.  Very droll, sophisticated, funny.  Thomas Lang, the protagonist, fancies himself a James Bond type.  Beautiful women, good whisky, motorcycles.  But I had a difficult time following the story.  Lang is ex-military and a freelance body guard who's asked to assassinate a wealthy businessman.  He gets involved in a plot to start a war to sell weapons so some people can make a fortune.

He also falls in love with Sarah Woolf, the daughter of one of the alleged gun sellers.  But, as it turns out, her father is trying to stop the war.  Lang infiltrates a terrorist group that's funded by the people trying to start a war.  I think he does this on behalf of the British government and the CIA.

Another woman, Ronnie, seems more promising as an aide and a romantic partner.  She's delighted to help Lang with some of his reconnaissance and helps him out of a few tight situations.  She likes the excitement and I like Ronnie.  Lang ends up on the roof of the American embassy in Casablanca with the terrorists.  The terrorists think they're waiting for a helicopter to take them to the place of their choice after winning a hostage situation.  Lang thinks they're going to be obliterated by a new powerfully destructive war helicopter, one of the weapons the group of warmongers is hoping to sell.

Hugh, it's not you.  It's me.  I've never understood spy novels.  John le Carre, Eric Ambler, anything about the Cold War  -  not for me.  I can never be sure who's who or why anyone is doing anything.  I'm just a simple hypochondriac.


  1. I like Hugh Laurie. I didn't know he wrote novels too! Is this his first one or does he have others? Interesting that he chose spy fiction as his genre!

    1. The Gun Seller seems to be his first novel. Wikipedia says he's written a second novel called The Paper Soldier but that it has yet to be published. In an interview with Laurie I read somewhere, he said he wrote The Gun Seller (and I would assume The Paper Soldier) because he thought his life was lacking excitement and he decided to live an exciting, spy-like life through his book characters. Hard to believe his life isn't interesting enough, if not exciting!