Day of Absolution: A Novel

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Scribner, Feb 28, 2001 - Fiction - 352 pages
2 Reviews
A Scribner Crime Novel

Internationally acclaimed crime writer John Gardner returns with a magnificent new cutting-edge thriller in the grand espionage tradition for which he is famous.

Charlie Gauntlet, a retired lawyer who was "something dodgy for the Foreign Office," is recently married to the much younger Rebecca "Bex" Olesker, a Detective Sergeant in the London Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorist Branch. Charlie has more or less come to terms with Bex's demanding and dangerous job, though it's hard for him to stay home when his young wife is on the front lines. Especially when she's facing Alchemist.

Who is Alchemist? Nobody seems to know, except that he's an unidentified hired assassin who strikes high-profile targets and demands a big payoff. If you have enough money and want somebody killed -- even a head of state -- he's your man. As Alchemist is described to Charlie, he's a "wizard soldier" who "walks on water, goes invisible, turns himself inside out like a reversible coat." He has had police all over the globe hopping around for the last decade and a half. Now, Bex may be the one to find him, but will she survive the encounter?

While Bex goes to Ireland, tracking a young woman lawyer who may lead her to Alchemist, Charlie takes a strange and perhaps perilous journey of his own. His unlikely guide is Britain's most infamous traitor, Kit Palfrey, who turns up on Charlie's doorstep with an intriguing tale of five ancient scrolls found in the bowels of Moscow's Lubianka prison. Are the scrolls authentic? If so, they could provide a new explanation for the Christian faith.

As Bex and her team converge to stop the assassination of a head of state in London, Charlie probes the mysteries of a remote monastery off the west coast of Scotland, where the sacred offices are not the only order of the day.

With style, wit, and page-turning tension, John Gardner's Day of Absolution builds to an electrifying conclusion as it examines some of life's most eternal questions.

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Review: Day of Absolution

User Review  - Nick Duretta - Goodreads

Not too wild about this one. The married spy couple trying to return to a normal life in thier mature years are intriguing, and the contract killer subplot creates a fair amount of suspense. But the ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

John Gardner, one of the authors of the well-known James Bond stories, was born in Northumberland, England on November 20, 1926. He attended Cambridge University and was a member of the Royal Marines. He became a journalist and a critic after leaving the service. In 1964, Gardner began his novelist career with The Liquidator, in which he created the character Boysie Oakes who inadvertently is mistaken to be a tough, pitiless man of action and is thereupon recruited into a British spy agency. In fact, Oakes was a devout coward who was terrified of violence, suffered from airsickness and was afraid of heights In the 1970's, he wrote a series of novels known as the Moriarty Journals, which brought back Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' nemesis. In the 1980's, the holders of the James Bond copyright commissioned him to begin a new series with 007. The first Bond novel written by Gardner was "License Renewed", which was a success. From that point on, Gardner produced a new Bond novel every year, with the exception of 1985, until he retired from the series in 1996. The Bond titles that followed include "For Special Services", "Icebreaker", "Role of Honour", "Nobody Lives Forever", "No Deals, Mr. Bond", "Scorpius", "Win, Lose, or Die", "Brokenclaw", "Death is Forever", "Seafire", and "Cold" (aka Cold Fall). John Gardner took a break from writing that lasted for five years, following the death of his wife, but after battling his illness he returned to print in 2000 with a new novel, Day of Absolution. Gardner also began a series of books with a new character, Suzie Mountford, a 1930s police detective. The Crime Writers' Association short-listed The Liquidator, The Dancing Dodo, The Nostradamus Traitor, and The Garden of Weapons for their annual Gold Dagger award.

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