Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on Paul E. Hardisty’s THE EVOLUTION OF FEAR blog Tour. Paul’s debut novel, the first in the Claymore Straker series, was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Now he’s back with another stonking thriller.
Here’s the blub: “Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit. Gripping, exhilarating and, above all, frighteningly realistic, The Evolution of Fear is a startling, eye-opening read that demands the question: How much is truth, and how much is fiction?”
With the theme of ‘fear’ strong within the story, Paul E. Hardisty is talking today about that very subject. Over to Paul …
The Evolution of Fear is the sequel to the CWA Creasy New Blood Dagger award short-listed The Abrupt Physics of Dying, featuring Claymore Straker. As the book opens, Clay is a fugitive, hiding in a lonely cottage on the rugged windswept coast of north Cornwall. Rania, the woman he loves (in his own, battle-scarred way) has disappeared, and he learns that the assassins closing in on him are after her, too. To save her, and save himself, Clay must not only vanquish those who want him dead, but he must face up to and overcome his own fears.
The cover of The Evolution of Fear features the clash of two primal elements: the towering waves of an ocean storm, and the searing flames of a deadly inferno. Both, once unleashed, can bring terror to the strongest hearts, and both can kill. It is perhaps this implacable, uncaring quality, the sense that these things – fire and water, waves and flames – are beyond reason, beyond emotion, which makes them so terrifying. Their judgement is arbitrary and fickle. Of all the ways to die, drowning and being burnt alive are, for me, among the very worst, the stuff of nightmares, the kind from which you wake up screaming, covered in sweat, heart jack-hammering. In the book, Clay must face both.
As the title of the book implies, fear is a central theme of the book. In small ways and large, fear drives us to safety, to inaction, to the course that involves the fewest risks but also, usually, the least reward. And so we don’t go on the big trip, or take that exciting new job in a foreign country, or walk across the bar to that beautiful stranger and say hi, or stand up to that injustice. Instead we choose an easier course, we stay with what we know, or we simply do nothing. As Shakespeare said, ‘Our fears do make us traitors.’
And knowing this, those that seek to control us use fear as their weapon of choice. By playing on our fears, they manipulate us into betraying ourselves. In The Evolution of Fear, powerful people are at work enriching themselves at the expense of all. They do it, largely, with the mute compliance, and in many cases the enthusiastic support, of the population. Amazingly, and consistently, the powerful few somehow get the rest of us to act in ways which are not in our own best interest. For me, as an author, this one of the critical and most perplexing issues of our time.
As revealed in first book in the series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, Claymore was named after the famous Scottish broadsword. Perhaps more appropriate is the eponymous M18 directional command-detonated anti-personnel mine, the Claymore, with its inscription ‘front towards enemy.’ This is what Clay must do. For this is the choice each of must make, in small ways and large, every day. Do we front up to our fears, and those that others would lodge inside us, and do what we know is right, for ourselves and others, or do we turn away, chose inaction and ease, conform to the directions others would chose for us? And if we do confront those fears, what are the costs, and what, in the end, might be gained? These are the fundamental questions explored in both books of the Claymore Straker series.
Big thanks to Paul for popping by the CTG blog today and talking about fear and his new thriller THE EVOLUTION OF FEAR.
You can find out more about Paul E. Hardisty on the Orenda Books website here and follow him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul
THE EVOLUTION OF FEAR is published tomorrow – May 5th. You can order it from Waterstones here or Amazon here
And be sure to check out all the other fabulous stops along THE EVOLUTION OF FEAR Blog Tour …