Good evening El Moochadores! I feel like I’m on a roll here. I just finished a new Atomic Moocast, did some art, and today I turned the last page on another book I get to review! I’m being productive and it feels pretty damn good!
So, today I finished reading Pray for a Brave Heart, by Scottish-American author Helen MacInnes. Originally written back in 1954, this espionage novel (and other MacInnes works) is seeing new life through Titan Books. Here’s the basic synopsis to Pray for a Brave Heart:
William Denning is determined to leave the army and his work with the Restitution of Property division in 1952 Belin to return home to the United States, but his terminal leave in Switzerland could turn out to be true in more than just name when he is asked to close one last file during his trip. American Intelligence has learned that the Herz diamonds, which disappeared during the war, are being smuggled out of Europe, and they want him to intercept and recover them. Denning soon finds himself fighting for survival in a ruthless world of espionage and international conspiracy where loyalty can be bought and sold.
I’ve already read one of MacInnes prior novels and you can check out the review here, so I kind of already knew what to expect from this story. MacInnes is a wonderful writer, and her prose and descriptive power is excellent, but these books were written in a different time. They’re from a time when heroes didn’t have to know kung-fu or how to hack a computer. So, after a life time of watching Star Wars, Star Trek, and Michael Bay like action movies (and reading stuff much like those films) it is a little tough to “gear down” and enjoy a story at a slower pace. Pray for a Brave heart is very light on any action but MacInnes does a good job of creating a 1950’s tale of espionage and deceit. I found my self enjoying the book just for the world it was in rather than looking forward to the next explosion. However, at times it was a little tough to follow the plot, or at least follow how the characters deduced, and then countered, the actions of their enemies. That being said, I don’t think MacInnes wrote Americans very well either. I can’t back this up, or even justify it, but her characters seemed very… English to me. Then again, this book was written more than two decades before I even existed. Maybe that’s how people were back then.
Pray for a Brave Heart is on sale right now at Titan Books, where you can also find more of MacInnes work. Just make sure you have plenty of tea and biscuits (that’s cookies to us ‘mericans) when you read this book. Also, she does a great job of writing for the cities of Bern and Falken. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to strap on hiking boots and go yodeling up the Matterhorn after finishing with this book.