politics

authors index

books index

e-mail

home


ROBERT BYRNE
The Tunnel


click to enlarge

Michael Joseph, London, 1977
(price: 4.50; 214 pages)

sleeve: Chris Yates


The blurb on the back:

For two hundred years men have dreamed of tunnelling beneath the Channel to link England and France. Now, against immense seas of opposition, the most monumental engineering project in history has started. For engineer Frank Kenward, the Channel Tunnel is the challenge of a lifetime. For the British government, it is a symbol of commitment to Europe and an economic lifeline. For Irish terrorist, Jamie Quinn, it is a heaven-sent opportunity - the perfect target, whose destruction will tear the fabric of British society. And for the reader, it is a mingling of fact and fiction that makes for an original, powerful and dramatic novel.


opening lines:
Down a ruined street the young man ran, past barricaded entryways and the shells of burned-out buildings, his eyes burning with tears and his black, curly hair matted with drying blood.


Well those sleeve notes tell most of the story really. Except they don't mention just what a curate's egg this is: the stuff about the terrorism is very fine, but there are also long passages about the details of engineering, which could only appeal to an engineer, frankly. I mean, I've done my time working in architecture, but even I'm not falling for that.

Just in case you're wondering: it's not particularly gripping, it has passages of near-tedium and Mr Byrne is in no way a natural born novelist. But it's quite pleasant, and it's always nice to read about the Channel Tunnel in history. (Doesn't mention it here, but did you know that Lenin wrote about the Channel Tunnel? He predicted that it would never be built under capitalism, which shows what he knew.)

smooth
Robert Byrne


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
4/5


Another book on 1970s terrorism? Why not?

The Angry Brigade
visit Robert Byrne's website
politics
home