|Pages/Publication Date:||458 / 2010|
In a moonlit field near the Serbian border, Croatian villagers waited in vain for a shipment of antitank weapons—the only thing that would have given them a fighting chance against the invading Serbs. Not until 18 years later would the survivors of the resulting slaughter learn the identity of the arms dealer who betrayed them. For Harvey Gillot, who regards himself as a man of his word, there has been only one blemish on his record, and it was a long time ago. But in this gripping 27th thriller from former broadcast journalist Gerald Seymour, the past is reaching across Europe to Gillot's house in leafy England, and its vengeance will ensnare his family, his friends, and his enemies alike.
"Seymour tells the story of a tiny Croatian village whose inhabitants held out for weeks against a much larger, better-armed force of Serbian paramilitaries during the Bosnian War. The villagers knew survival depended on getting antitank rockets, and they pooled everything they owned to buy them from an arms merchant. But the weapons were never delivered, and the Serbs committed atrocities that survivors have been waiting two decades to avenge. They learn the name of the arms dealer who betrayed them. Once again, they pool everything they own, this time to hire a hit man. Seymour loves detail, and The Dealer and the Dead serves it up brilliantly. He takes readers inside the minds and lives of a baker's dozen characters, from villagers and the British arms merchant to a London cop whose 'Flying Squad' is tasked with stopping contract killings, to a driven woman who tracks the international arms trade for an NGO, and a forensic scientist who has been unearthing Croatian victims for 20 years. The Bosnian conflict was spectacularly cruel. Two decades on, it continues to spur headlines and to provide potent plotlines for novelists. It's fitting that Seymour, one of the finest contemporary espionage novelists, shines his unique light on it."—Booklist (starred review)