“I Came Away From This Read With Fire In My Belly”
Says Heathrow based cabin crew member, Hollie Wainwright
“Being a young woman who gets easily sucked into social media and
over-the-top magazine headlines, the Hwanung Solution is admittedly
not my usual read and I am undoubtedly behind on latest politics.
However The Hwanung Solution like any other enchantment whisked me
away to a fictional land of make believe characters and scenarios –
but something made me feel I had been dropped into something very real!
“Buckles You In Tight For Its Racing Pace”
With gripping emotions between the main characters and their past relationships, to gory details of another character’s unexpected end, this fascinating read buckles you in tight for its racing pace. The fast twists and turns give great contrast with the delicate writing of the author David Middleton who brings every character to their own special appearance and meaning. I advise any young adult to explore this for the nature of the book.
Having fun in mixing fact and fiction, this story keeps me as the reader on my toes. As I go on through the book I actually feel wiser. Why? Because I find myself contemplating throughout the book not just about the atrocities within this fiction but about the atrocities of real life.
I have come away from this read with fire in my belly for a subject all around us that as human beings we have been so blind to. It’s now time to open our minds as this book has easily enlightened me with creating a world to get lost into and an image in my mind I do not want us to be left with.
From: Jim A. Johnston,
The Hwanung Solution
By David Middleton
Pubished by Matador
320 pp ISBN 978 1788039 307
It’s a cool, clear night in North Sutherland as Jimmie Hall, ex Special Forces and having difficulty settling in to civilian life, is making his way secretly and, he hopes, safely towards Melvich Bighouse or The Mansion, as it appears in David Middleton’s latest book. He is well equipped for the task in hand which is to check out mysterious goings on for his controllers in London who are increasingly interested in activities both there and, by high speed RIB, along the Caithness coast at Freswick. He selects an observation point but hostile eyes are on him and, in mid-report, he is shot through the neck with a cross bow and, within minutes, his lifeless body is flung over the cliffs of Bighouse Head to disappear for ever in the Pentland Firth’s maelstrom of tides.
Meanwhile, in the almost totally deserted town of Anadyr-1 in Siberia, geophysicist Bill Paterson, having been dragged from his hospital bed by a gang of Russian speaking assailants, is struggling for survival from the combined effects of the extreme cold and a fearful illness. Fortunately he is adopted by a family of relict natives who, as well as being sufficient sassy to tap in to the abandoned town’s still functioning electricity supply, eat their Neolithic style food from gold plates bearing the monogram of the Romanovs.
Off the nearby coast, now clear of ice due to global warming, lie the islands of Big and Little Diomede - possessions of Russia and the USA respectively. As the story unfolds, it transpires that the Russians, under their hard line President, have annexed Little Diomede and laid sole claim to the entire Bering Strait. A US battle fleet, despatched by their its equally undiplomatic leader, is steaming northwards from Seattle to reclaim Uncle Sam’s four square miles of windswept tundra.
Heading towards the sound of the firing is Middlton’s hero, Gene Bond who, though his hired float plane gets a little bit too far under the radar, arrives just in time to make a difference and, in the background, floats the enigmatic figure of Korean terrorist, Sam Taeyoung, still probably sufficiently alive at the end of the novel to feature in future publications.
So, is this just another fast moving thriller to briefly occupy the mind of the reader, make a long journey more bearable, or agreeably pass some well-earned leisure time? It accomplishes all of these but they are not the writer’s objective. David Middleton is a born-again environmentalist whose raison d’etre is to raise public awareness of the dire state of affairs for Planet Earth. The Acionna Projects, which I reviewed here in 2016, featured increasing concern across the globe about present and future water supplies while The Hwanung Solution concentrates on the various ways in which global warming is affecting the furthest north parts of the planet. These include the ever increasing open-ness of the Bering Strait which, if it has not already done so, will soon affect patterns of world trade, and the great holes that are appearing over swathes of Siberia as the perma-frost relaxes its age old hold. As this happens, long buried pathogens may be released in to the environment against which neither we, nor present day animals, will have any defence.
An illuminating feature of both books is an appendix in which the author lists the facts against which he has created his novel and which amply underline the age old adage the truth is stranger than fiction. And, perhaps, much more worrying!
Jim A Johnston
The Hwanung Solution by David Middleton
This is the third of David Middleton’s environmentally-themed, Bond-style, fast-paced adventure books. Combining, as it does, the crisis of global warming, an evil megalomaniac, a shadowy security organisation, the power of social media, a reluctant hero, and a sexy but naive maid, what could possibly go right?
You will have to read the book to find out. When you do you will be taken on a roller-coaster ride from the north of Scotland to South Korea, via Wales (but not as you know it) London, and the remotest part of Siberia. The reluctant hero is Gene Bond, who wants to save the world from itself, but reality, in the form of his friend Georgi, politics, and big business, keeps getting in his way.
The roller-coaster finds a few interesting byways on its travels, amongst which are parts of what is now the North Coast 500 route in Scotland, disputed, strategically placed islands in other parts of the world, and abandoned nuclear facilities.
This book, together with the two earlier stories (The Final Shah Mat and The Acionna Projects) is a wholly original attempt to focus on the world’s major environmental problems through the medium of the action novel. The interweaving of fact and fiction is seamlessly executed, so much so that the author thoughtfully provides a checklist of what is fact and what is fiction, together with a list of useful sources of further information. That’s one up on Dan Brown.
Buy it, read it, gift it, you and your friends will not be disappointed.
Unsolicited reader comment:
“More polish than Jeffrey Archer, more realistic than Dan Brown, a plot that twists and turns like Robert Goddard and the panaz of Ian Fleming. It would make a good film!”
THE ACIONNA PROJECTS
Review of the book by Richard Heathcote, retired former SD Manager of Heineken UK
“I went to see an experimental play recently by the RSC. I was impressed that it took some big science (quantum physics) and used it as a back drop for a poignant and funny rom-com. The Acionna Projects was not quite like that.
It still took some big science as a backdrop (environmental pressure/risks on clean drinking water) but in this case set it into a fast paced, edge of seat thriller, which I equally enjoyed greatly. It is a good read, and as another reviewer has said the truly scary bit is when you see what's fact and what's fiction. David's knowledge of, and ability to use, real challenging sustainability issues and bring them to life through exciting novels and interesting, yet 'fun' characters is unique and great. I look forward to Episode 3 of Gene's travails. And for those of us who know that very far north of Scotland - well, David knows and shows how special that is.