In a recent BBC radio broadcast John Gray recalls the life and work of the thriller writer Eric Ambler and finds uncomfortable echoes of today’s society in the pages of his novels.
“What they reveal is a world ruled by financial and geopolitical forces that care nothing for the human individual. Most unsettlingly, this world is unmistakably European.”
Eric Ambler began to write at a time of intense depression: the dictators were on the march, democracy was maligned, politicians words were hollow, and all the while, the innocent – on all sides – suffered. Europe was under siege and the threat came from the Balkans and the Near East. Sounds familiar?
Ambler jettisoned the tropes and conventions of early spy fiction. He dispensed with the romantic hero and patriotic right; instead came a balanced objective view of world affairs, economic forces were pushing toward aggression and writer explored what was really going on by allowing innocent ordinary folks to get caught up in dramatic and horrifying events. The pictured collection of Ambler spy novels is appropriately called “Intrigue”.
Listen to the broadcast.