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Firefly

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From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen year old boy is making his way to Germany and safety. Codenamed 'Firefly', he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won't live to pass on the information. When MI6 become awa From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen year old boy is making his way to Germany and safety. Codenamed 'Firefly', he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won't live to pass on the information. When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him. Paul Samson, ex-MI6 agent and now private eye, finds himself recruited to the cause. Fluent in Arabic thanks to his Lebanese heritage, Samson's job is to find Firefly, win his trust and get him to safety.A devastatingly timely thriller following the refugee trail from Syria to Europe, Firefly is a sophisticated, breathtaking race against time from the acclaimed and award-winning author of Brandenburg and The Dying Light.


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From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen year old boy is making his way to Germany and safety. Codenamed 'Firefly', he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won't live to pass on the information. When MI6 become awa From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen year old boy is making his way to Germany and safety. Codenamed 'Firefly', he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won't live to pass on the information. When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him. Paul Samson, ex-MI6 agent and now private eye, finds himself recruited to the cause. Fluent in Arabic thanks to his Lebanese heritage, Samson's job is to find Firefly, win his trust and get him to safety.A devastatingly timely thriller following the refugee trail from Syria to Europe, Firefly is a sophisticated, breathtaking race against time from the acclaimed and award-winning author of Brandenburg and The Dying Light.

30 review for Firefly

  1. 3 out of 5

    Paromjit

    I read Porter's The Dying Light some time ago but it didn't really appeal to me, nevertheless I wanted to read this based on the publisher's description of it. I really liked this much better, a look at our world today and some of the current burning issues on the refugee crisis, the intelligence agencies, Middle East, Syria and ISIS. It is a tense thriller focusing on British ex-spy Paul Samson, an Arabic speaker with Lebanese roots, with a penchant for the occasional big time gambling that got I read Porter's The Dying Light some time ago but it didn't really appeal to me, nevertheless I wanted to read this based on the publisher's description of it. I really liked this much better, a look at our world today and some of the current burning issues on the refugee crisis, the intelligence agencies, Middle East, Syria and ISIS. It is a tense thriller focusing on British ex-spy Paul Samson, an Arabic speaker with Lebanese roots, with a penchant for the occasional big time gambling that got him booted out of SIS, the secret intelligence service. He now works below the radar locating missing persons for Macy Harp. Peter Nyman from the Special Operations Directorate wants Samson to return for a job that is particularly suited to his skill set, finding a young 13 year old Syrian boy, Naji, travelling alone, intent on getting to Germany and looking to get his family settled there, they are currently living in a Turkish Refugee camp. Naji is a resourceful and gifted child. Naji's academic father was horrifically tortured by the Syrian regime after he dared to look into two of his missing students, his father has died leaving Naji traumatised. After spending time with ISIS, he becomes aware of their cruelty and is unwilling to have the local ISIS leader marry his sister and all that would entail. The family escaped with Naji managing to secure crucial information on ISIS, their operators, their sickening acts, and plans for potential future atrocities in Europe. British intelligence heard of Naji after he informed a psychologist, Anastasia, working with traumatised refugees on the Greek Island of Lesbos and want the information he has, but unfortunately 3 ISIS men are after Naji with the intention of killing him. Samson is hot on Naji's trail through Greece and Macedonia, marvelling at the boy's capabilities when it comes to surviving but everyone's luck runs out eventually and there is a harrowing but thrilling finale in a remote farmhouse in Macedonia. Porter has clearly done his research on the region and ISIS, and he deploys it to great effect in this compelling and suspenseful thriller. The major highlight for me was its insightful portrayal of the precarious lives of refugees, the camps they reside in, the trauma so many have experienced and the numerous dangers they face, such as paedophiles, and human traffickers. Anastasia was the face of human compassion, working amongst chaotic and difficult circumstances, whilst most of Europe turns against the rising tide of migrants and closing its doors to them. ISIS is painted from what we know of their high levels of cruelty, despicable treatment of women and more. This is a great and entertaining thriller with all the ingredients to have you biting your nails as you root for Naji and Samson. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Lou

    I am a huge fan of thrillers featuring espionage and terrorism - as this combines the two, it totally appealed to me. I hadn't heard of Porter before (I know! I know!) so this is my first novel of his. I will be looking back at his previous work and purchasing his catalogue. If FIREFLY is anything to go by, it will be well worth the money! What can I say? All of the advance praise from stalwarts of the crime genre is correct. This is an excellent example of why British espionage fiction is the be I am a huge fan of thrillers featuring espionage and terrorism - as this combines the two, it totally appealed to me. I hadn't heard of Porter before (I know! I know!) so this is my first novel of his. I will be looking back at his previous work and purchasing his catalogue. If FIREFLY is anything to go by, it will be well worth the money! What can I say? All of the advance praise from stalwarts of the crime genre is correct. This is an excellent example of why British espionage fiction is the best in the world, and has been for a long time. A truly exceptional novel, with a storyline that is timely and comes straight from the headlines of todays world. FIREFLY is an intelligent thriller that had me from page one. Gripping and exciting, it was impossible to put down - I read it in one sitting and stayed up way past my bedtime to find out what happened. The characterisation is wonderful, the narrative easy to follow and engaging, and the finale explosive! If you're into espionage thrillers, don't miss this one! You'll thank me for it later, I promise you! Superb from cover-to-cover and one of my favourite reads this year so far. I just know this will be in my best of 2018 lists. Sometimes it's impossible to write a review for a book as it always feels difficult to portray just how amazing that title is - this is definitely one of those times. I would like to thank Henry Porter, Quercus Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Firefly is a thrilling tale of spies, terrorists, and refugees which seems especially poignant in today's political climate in Europe. The plot of Firefly was so unique and wonderfully written that I was emersed in the story from the first page to the last page. I wasn't a big fan of the writing style because the point of view varied within the same chapter which I sometimes found confusing. I did enjoy the different point of views though because you actually get to read the point of view of Naji Firefly is a thrilling tale of spies, terrorists, and refugees which seems especially poignant in today's political climate in Europe. The plot of Firefly was so unique and wonderfully written that I was emersed in the story from the first page to the last page. I wasn't a big fan of the writing style because the point of view varied within the same chapter which I sometimes found confusing. I did enjoy the different point of views though because you actually get to read the point of view of Naji, the young refugee boy with the codename Firefly, which was interesting and an amazing aspect of the book. The characters were well written and interesting. I loved both Naji and Samson and I thoroughly enjoyed reading from their point of views. I wasn't really invested in any of the other characters but I did like Hayat who appeared at the beginning of the book. I just like her mannerisms and the way she was written. Overall, I really enjoyed Firefly and I'd be interested in reading some of Henry Porter's other books in the future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Baker

    Elegantly written and a deeply moving and convincing espionage/chase thriller. The novel alternates between two main protagonists and really maximises suspense and builds to a convincing and engrossing finale.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gail C.

    Thank you to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press for providing an advanced digital copy of this novel about a young pre-teen refugee as he struggles to cross several borders in his flight from Syria. His goal is to reach Germany and trade the knowledge he has stolen from terrorists to pay for the safe passage of his family. The terrorists are in pursuit with a goal of killing him before he can reach safety as are various spy agencies who get wind he may have valuable information they Thank you to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press for providing an advanced digital copy of this novel about a young pre-teen refugee as he struggles to cross several borders in his flight from Syria. His goal is to reach Germany and trade the knowledge he has stolen from terrorists to pay for the safe passage of his family. The terrorists are in pursuit with a goal of killing him before he can reach safety as are various spy agencies who get wind he may have valuable information they can use in their fight against terrorism. The tale alternates between the point of view of the young boy, Naji and Paul Samson, who has been contracted by a conglomerate of spy agencies and is pursuing the boy in an attempt to reach and rescue him. Naji is portrayed as a brilliant, precocious young boy who is a combination of self taught whiz kid, devoted son and petty thief who can move through a crowd with lightning speed to elude capture. His struggle is complicated because he is a minor trying to travel unaccompanied and without the proper paperwork, which leaves him at risk from both the terrorists and officials from the countries through which he must travel. If the terrorists find him, they will kill him, if the officials find him, they will send him back to a youth detention center. Samson is a former spy who left the agency and whose specialty is now finding people for a fee, a quintessential “good guy” trying to reach Naji before the cruelest of men, head of a terrorist organization which has held Naji in the past, can find him and the secrets Naji has carried out with him. Samson’s pursuit is complicated by the fact Naji is unaware of his presence and the fact he is trying to help. In addition, through a series of misadventures and narrow escapes Naji constantly changes his direction of travel, leaving Samson to try and guess at his location, all while trying to find a way to contact the boy. Along the way he gets assistance from a child psychologist who volunteered at one of the refugee camps, a billionaire who previously hired Samson to find his sister who had been kidnapped by terrorists, and some locals who are pulled in to serve as support. There are also other spies and organizations who may want to help Naji, as well as Naji’s sister who provides a link to his family. The mix of people is complicated and their roles unexpectedly shift from time to time, which adds to the difficulty of Samson’s job. The story is a compelling one, and has the potential to become a taut adventure as Naji seeks to elude those who would harm him. However, because the book relies more on telling the tale rather than helping the reader feel and experience the action, the tension never quite grows as expected, making it easy to interrupt reading throughout the novel. Overall, it remains an interesting story, but not the edge of your seat read you might expect from the subject matter.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allyn Nichols

    A coming of age tale that is as harrowing as it is heartwarming. A story following a young boy desperate to reach the safety of Europe after escaping from war ravaged Syria. He joins the migrant trail with nothing but a promise to see him through the long hard months ahead. All the while knowingly persued by a relentless enemy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)

    A real page turner. Henry Porter has produced an excellent contemporary spy novel, capturing the harrowing plight of refugees alongside the need to obtain vital intelligence from a young refugee boy who holds crucial knowledge about an impending ISIS attack in Europe. It's essentially a chase story, but one with many twists and turns and rich characterisations of the main protagonists. Fast moving and impactful, highly recommended. I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to wr A real page turner. Henry Porter has produced an excellent contemporary spy novel, capturing the harrowing plight of refugees alongside the need to obtain vital intelligence from a young refugee boy who holds crucial knowledge about an impending ISIS attack in Europe. It's essentially a chase story, but one with many twists and turns and rich characterisations of the main protagonists. Fast moving and impactful, highly recommended. I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Áine

    I love an occasional spy style thriller and I really enjoyed this book. It also surprised me with it's adept handling of a serious topic (migration, plight of refugees) in the context of a thriller. The juxtaposition of the western spy apparatus versus the almost post apocalyptic experiences of the migrants really struck me (Samson tapping into state of the art technology to track Naji while the migrants stumble through Europe with access to nothing). This is much more than your standard spy thr I love an occasional spy style thriller and I really enjoyed this book. It also surprised me with it's adept handling of a serious topic (migration, plight of refugees) in the context of a thriller. The juxtaposition of the western spy apparatus versus the almost post apocalyptic experiences of the migrants really struck me (Samson tapping into state of the art technology to track Naji while the migrants stumble through Europe with access to nothing). This is much more than your standard spy thriller but still has all the action and pace that you might expect. I'd love to see another title featuring Samson (perhaps with Naji as his technological whizz kid sidekick!?)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jewels

    A gripping page-turner that I could not put down... Thoroughly enjoyed this, strong characters and a great plot with plenty of twists and turns, and nicely plotted goodies and baddies. Highly recommended - this would be great holiday reading. My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC in return for my honest review.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Greville Waterman

    An exceptionally well researched and written book that enthralled from the first page. It tells of the search for an enterprising young refugee boy who possesses crucial knowledge about an impending ISIS attack on the European mainland. Who will find him first? The good guys or the bad? It is an exhilarating chase leavened with sadness at the harrowing descriptions of the plight of the refugees literally fleeing for their life. Henry Porter has written an important book that educates as much as it e An exceptionally well researched and written book that enthralled from the first page. It tells of the search for an enterprising young refugee boy who possesses crucial knowledge about an impending ISIS attack on the European mainland. Who will find him first? The good guys or the bad? It is an exhilarating chase leavened with sadness at the harrowing descriptions of the plight of the refugees literally fleeing for their life. Henry Porter has written an important book that educates as much as it entertains. Highly recommended.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Allyn Nichols

    Read pre-release by kind permission of the author and publisher via Netgalley. A timely reminder of the depths that humanity can sink to and also of the great heights that can be achieved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick Brett

    This is a very timely thriller, but not without some flaws. Ex intelligent agent is asked to track and find a young migrant making his way across Europe. The young man may hold some critical intelligence information and the British badly want it. Sadly the ISIS bad guys are also after the young lad. The boy himself is very smart and a born survivor, but he might not be smart enough and his time is running out... This captures the migration plight very well along with a British Intelligence organi This is a very timely thriller, but not without some flaws. Ex intelligent agent is asked to track and find a young migrant making his way across Europe. The young man may hold some critical intelligence information and the British badly want it. Sadly the ISIS bad guys are also after the young lad. The boy himself is very smart and a born survivor, but he might not be smart enough and his time is running out... This captures the migration plight very well along with a British Intelligence organisation that has little sentiment and quite selfish goals. Our tracker is a bit odder. Good that he is no ex special forces warrior, his skills are in the chase and his own experiences as an imigrant. But he’s not fleshed out enough to make you really care about him, and there is an odd and unnecessary side story about him betting which was dull and added nothing. But this does work for much of the book and the good outweighs the flaws.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Schuurmans

    A new novel by Henry Porter is always a treat and his new release does not disappoint. It is a timely tale as the chase takes place in a Europe that is battling to address the flood of refugees pouring into Greece and using it as a springboard into a Schengen country. An ex-spy, himself a former refugee, accepts the challenge of finding a fourteen-year-old boy refugee believed to have information on a terrorist cell aiming to reach into the heart of Europe. The action is fast and furious but it A new novel by Henry Porter is always a treat and his new release does not disappoint. It is a timely tale as the chase takes place in a Europe that is battling to address the flood of refugees pouring into Greece and using it as a springboard into a Schengen country. An ex-spy, himself a former refugee, accepts the challenge of finding a fourteen-year-old boy refugee believed to have information on a terrorist cell aiming to reach into the heart of Europe. The action is fast and furious but it is the well-drawn characterisation of the older former refugee now people hunter, the desperate young boy and the people that help and hinder them along the way all against the terrible reality of the refugee trail that pulls at your heart and keeps you glued to the last page.

  14. 3 out of 5

    jeff popple

    ‘Firefly’ is a welcomed return by Henry Porter, whose last spy thriller, ‘The Dying Light’, appeared way back in 2009. As with all his thrillers, ‘Firefly’ is seemingly ripped from the news headlines with its graphic descriptions of the contemporary plight of refugees in Europe. Luc Samson, a former MI6 agent and fluent Arabic speaker, is hired by his old employers to the lead the search for a 13-year old Syrian boy, Naji, who is stealthily making his way across Europe. Naji is a clever and reso ‘Firefly’ is a welcomed return by Henry Porter, whose last spy thriller, ‘The Dying Light’, appeared way back in 2009. As with all his thrillers, ‘Firefly’ is seemingly ripped from the news headlines with its graphic descriptions of the contemporary plight of refugees in Europe. Luc Samson, a former MI6 agent and fluent Arabic speaker, is hired by his old employers to the lead the search for a 13-year old Syrian boy, Naji, who is stealthily making his way across Europe. Naji is a clever and resourceful boy with a gift for computers who managed to escape his ISIS overseers. Before making his escape, Naji downloaded several important ISIS documents and incriminating photos onto his phone. He is trying to get to Germany to make a new life for himself and his family, however, to do so he has avoid being detained by authorities along the way, he is an unaccompanied minor, and keep one step ahead of an ISIS hit-team sent to retrieve the information he has stolen and kill him. Meanwhile Samson desperately tries to intercept Naji before the ISIS team gets to him. This is an exciting chase thriller. Porter does a good job of alternating the perspective between Naji and Samson to maximise the suspense and the book builds to a tense climax in the Macedonian countryside. The characters are credible and Porter’s descriptions of the plight of the refugees is moving and convincing. The spy elements of the story are perhaps a little underdone and there are probably too many coincidences, but overall this is a very intelligent and gripping thriller.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue Blanchard

    Thankyou to NetGalley, Quercus Books and Henry Porter for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of Firefly. What a great read. The storyline was relentless and fast paced. It grabs you from the start and does not let go until you finish the story. Definitely a good read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Dars

    A thirteen-year-old Syrian boy, code-named Firefly, begins an arduous journey from a Turkish refugee camp hoping to reach Europe and bring his family to safety, away from the darkness and devastation of his home country. But this precocious boy possess valuable information about a terrorist cell that can prevent a terrorist attack. When the English Special Investigative Service learns of Firefly, they enlist ex-agent Paul Samson, an Arabic speaker and former refuge from Lebanon, to track him, ga A thirteen-year-old Syrian boy, code-named Firefly, begins an arduous journey from a Turkish refugee camp hoping to reach Europe and bring his family to safety, away from the darkness and devastation of his home country. But this precocious boy possess valuable information about a terrorist cell that can prevent a terrorist attack. When the English Special Investigative Service learns of Firefly, they enlist ex-agent Paul Samson, an Arabic speaker and former refuge from Lebanon, to track him, gain his trust, and learn what he knows. Samson is aided by the beautiful and brilliant psychologist Anastasia who works at the Lesbos refuge camp and has witnessed the horror experienced by migrants as well as Vuk, an "unusual but reliable" and usually drunk Serbian fixer. Unaware of Samson's efforts to rescue him, Firefly follows the dangerous migrant trail where he faces assault, betrayal, disappointment, and despair. He's joined by the carefree Ikfar and his loyal dog Moon as he races to the Macedonian-Serbian border. But the terrorists want Firefly's information badly and will kill to retrieve it. Challenged by the weather and terrain, Samson fights to stay ahead of the terrorists and protect Firefly who has his own reasons for remaining hidden. Firefly excels at conveying the experiences of refugees, particularly those without proper documentation and minors. From harrowing water crossings to overcrowded camps and transit stations, the sights, sounds, and smells are vividly depicted. Firefly encounters myriad fellow travelers from various countries who are all hoping for a better life at the end of the migrant trail. Smugglers take advantage of the desperate while NGOs and relief agencies attempt to improve the conditions of the people in their care. The pressures on the host countries also come into play. Borders are constantly being opened or closed; transportation is unreliable. Yet, the refugees continue to come. Anastasia "concluded rather bitterly that whatever happened, it would always fall to the Greek islands to deal with the influx. ‘They are drowning in our seas, crawling up our beaches, and that isn’t going to stop soon,’ she said. ‘Just because Europe has suddenly decided that these people are not wanted doesn’t mean they aren’t going to give up getting on those little rafts. They have nothing to lose –there’s nothing where they come from." As Samson trails Firefly, he encounters the bureaucracy of intelligence agencies from multiple European countries and sees the politics and behind the scenes negotiating at play. Priorities shift and develop depending on which agencies have the upper hand. All this is fascinating, and I don't recall a book that presents as complete and harrowing a picture of refugee migration, particularly from a boy's perspective. It is heartbreaking to know these conditions are far from fiction and that so many people struggle to leave war-torn and ravished areas for a peaceful existence. The book is also action-packed and suspenseful. For two days, I hardly put it down, and I certainly was glued to it for the last quarter. As comprehensive as the book is in terms of representing a refugee's experience, it never detracts from the narrative or bogs down the story. Each detail seems essential for the whole. For the most part, I liked the writing style and thought it was written well, although I did find that the transitions between sections focusing on Firefly and those focusing on Samson were abrupt and awkward. It's possible that in the final version of the book, the book design will provide a better indication of when the story changes perspective. Firefly was an interesting and sympathetic character, and I couldn't help but like him and hope for the best for him. At the same time, I wondered if he was unrealistically precocious. He is presented in completely positive terms which feels inauthentic. For being a central character, I thought Samson was underdeveloped and I would like to have had more backstory for him. It was illustrative to have characters of so many nationalities with speaking so many languages, and it was interesting how language served to bind or separate characters. While this would fall into the thriller/suspense categories and is worth reading on that alone, I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about refuges, especially from Syria, to read this book. Although I've read books that have incisive portrayals of refugee camps I felt like I had a greater understanding of the challenges refugees face in transit after reading this book. Thank you to Netgalley, Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press, and Henry Porter for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Quotations may not reflect the final published book.

  17. 3 out of 5

    BOOKLOVER10

    In "Firefly," Henry Porter describes the coming of age of Naji Touma, a thirteen-year-old boy from northern Syria who bears a heavy burden for one so young. He flees his native land after witnessing indescribable horrors, and then sets out on what he hopes will be a path to freedom. He is determined to bring his mother and sisters from a migrant camp in Turkey to Germany, where they hope to start a new life. Naji, who is brilliant, mature, and audacious, has a stratospheric IQ and impressive tec In "Firefly," Henry Porter describes the coming of age of Naji Touma, a thirteen-year-old boy from northern Syria who bears a heavy burden for one so young. He flees his native land after witnessing indescribable horrors, and then sets out on what he hopes will be a path to freedom. He is determined to bring his mother and sisters from a migrant camp in Turkey to Germany, where they hope to start a new life. Naji, who is brilliant, mature, and audacious, has a stratospheric IQ and impressive technical ability. Not only is he a self-taught computer expert who speaks several languages, but he is also an excellent strategist who has a greater understanding of human nature than many adults twice his age. He will need luck, stamina, and sophisticated survival skills, since a vicious band of terrorists are on his trail. The thugs pursuing Naji are desperate to get their hands on incriminating evidence that the boy has cleverly encrypted on his cell phone. During his trek to northern Europe, Naji meets various individuals, some of whom lend him a hand, while others try to exploit him. On the Greek island of Lesbos, a compassionate psychologist, Anastasia Christakos, gains Naji's trust. He reveals to her that he is running away from ruthless fiends who, if they succeed in apprehending him, will likely torture and execute him. The other central character is Luc Samson, a former member of Britain's MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service), who now works in the private sector. When one of his former colleagues asks for Samson's help, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to locate Naji and protect him from harm. This is an involving and suspenseful work of fiction, in which Porter demonstrates the perils that displaced persons fleeing violence encounter when they try to cross borders into countries where they are often unwelcome. The author vilifies self-serving government officials who wish to extract Naji's secrets and, once he has told them everything he knows, think nothing of throwing him to the wolves. As Naji makes his way through treacherous terrain in all kinds of weather, he buys (and steals) food, camps out at night, and builds temporary shelters to keep himself warm and dry. Porter is a strong descriptive writer who paints vivid scenes that are humorous, frightening, dispiriting, and heartwarming. Aside from its clichéd finale, "Firefly" is a rousing and poignant tale of grit, tenacity, and endurance in the face of overwhelming odds.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    Gripping thriller following the story of a young refugee with a mysterious past who is fleeing to Germany alone, to find asylum for his family after his own personal family tragedy. He is also the carrier of a huge amount of data which ISIS leaders do not want getting into the wrong hands. He is therefore in double jeopardy as they are hunting him. Cue Paul Sansom, a ex-refugee from Lebanon himself, he is now in the business of finding ‘missing persons’. He is assigned to find a young 13 year ol Gripping thriller following the story of a young refugee with a mysterious past who is fleeing to Germany alone, to find asylum for his family after his own personal family tragedy. He is also the carrier of a huge amount of data which ISIS leaders do not want getting into the wrong hands. He is therefore in double jeopardy as they are hunting him. Cue Paul Sansom, a ex-refugee from Lebanon himself, he is now in the business of finding ‘missing persons’. He is assigned to find a young 13 year old boy, with whom it becomes personal – he gets to admire and feel for this young, intelligent and feisty young man who has to travel on his journey illegally as the authorities would put him into a camp as an ‘unaccompanied minor’. He knows he has to get his information to the West in an attempt to stop part of the horror, slaughter and torture he has witnessed in his own country. Part of me thinks everyone should read this book – you experience the journey of a refugee on a personal level – the danger, fear, hunger, cold and pure brutality of police in countries who really don’t want the refugees anywhere near – (backed up by their Nations’ governments). The ‘Catch 22’ of only having a set period of time to get through a country, where another one has closed its borders due to a policy change – and the purely impossible predicaments these people find themselves in when they are stranded and outside a time limit – their documents then being worthless. The different types of refugees – victims of war or brutality and others, the economic migrants. The camps and staff trying their best to help them, also tales of help by local people (which I hope can still happen after such vast numbers of passers-through). All are here in rich descriptions, but the ones hunting our ‘Firefly’ are a particularly monstrous group. You really feel for Firefly – the climax is unputdownable, edge-of-seat thrilling. I’d love to see this as a film. Great story and if read by anyone with an ounce of compassion, it’s going to change a lot of minds about the uncountable influx of tragedy flooding Europe. Astounding story. I’ve not read anything like this before.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daphne Sharpe

    A marvellous story,full of desperation,fear and quiet heroics. The story of Syrian refugees on the migrant route,all trying to escape the atrocities of Daesh fighters. Firefly is the code name of 13 year old Naji,who is highly intelligent and an asset to the Caliphate. Taken under the wing of Daesh assassins,he has seen and learnt too many dangerous and painful things,and has stored all this information on his mobile phone,hoping to escape with his family to Germany and barter this knowledge for A marvellous story,full of desperation,fear and quiet heroics. The story of Syrian refugees on the migrant route,all trying to escape the atrocities of Daesh fighters. Firefly is the code name of 13 year old Naji,who is highly intelligent and an asset to the Caliphate. Taken under the wing of Daesh assassins,he has seen and learnt too many dangerous and painful things,and has stored all this information on his mobile phone,hoping to escape with his family to Germany and barter this knowledge for asylum,and settlement there. He leaves his mother and sisters in a refugee camp and joins groups of asylum seekers on their desperate quest across Europe,just as the borders are being closed and countries are refusing to grant sanctuary to Syrians. Unbeknown to Naji, 3 ISIS killers are on his trail,looking for his phone and to kill him. MI6 gets to hear about his critical knowledge and persuades a former agent,Paul Samson ,to trace Naji and get him to hand over his information ,in order to prevent further attacks. This is such a tense and exciting read! Seen from our viewpoint of being in a safe place,such a humanitarian crisis is hard to comprehend and the heartbreak of leaving family and home,the suffering,neglect and ignorance of people who close borders and deny shelter,makes for uncomfortable reading. Naji is an outstandingly lucky and brave character. This has the makings of being a modern classic,and would make a worthy addition to any school library. It explains the workings of Aid Agencies,U.N.H.C.R, and Medecins du Monde far better than most news reports. You gain a quiet respect for the citizens of Lesbos,the Greek island,that is the first port of call for refugees,and the way they welcome these people ,whilst other richer nations look the other way. This is a superb thriller,a real page turner and richly deserves to be an option for a film or documentary. It makes you feel lucky indeed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Schuyler Wallace

    Henry Porter returns to his writing after an eight-year hiatus, doing what we don’t really know. He leads a busy life, full of journalism, liberal politics, and activism, but his fiction writing has been on hold. He has been on the short list for the Orwell Prize in journalism and the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for his novels. So the talent’s there but it’s been eight years of silence for his thrillers. He hasn’t lost the touch. “Firefly” is a masterful novel full of spies, migrants, medical worke Henry Porter returns to his writing after an eight-year hiatus, doing what we don’t really know. He leads a busy life, full of journalism, liberal politics, and activism, but his fiction writing has been on hold. He has been on the short list for the Orwell Prize in journalism and the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for his novels. So the talent’s there but it’s been eight years of silence for his thrillers. He hasn’t lost the touch. “Firefly” is a masterful novel full of spies, migrants, medical workers, and an immensely intriguing 13-year old boy who, as a refugee, lives a life of danger and derring-do that would challenge the skills of any full fledged adventurer. He desperately needs to reach Germany to find a shelter for his family. Along the way he has saved a baby from a watery death. He knows the secrets of jihadists. He develops an encrypted smartphone system that only he can decipher. And he travels the refugee’s trail of hunger, thirst, and abuse; cleverly evaded those who want to find him and forcefully extract the secrets he holds. The terrorists want him because he knows their evil secrets. British intelligence wants him because he witnessed a massacre and can help locate the perpetrators. One of the pursuers simply wants to keep him alive, an enterprise not necessarily agreed to by others. The big story here seems to be smartphones that are being used, stolen, and lost, but have a large role in the intensity of the search. I predict this book will be a big seller. Its topic is fresh and the story is riveting. The characters are realistic and the boy seems ready-made to become a popular protagonist. The writing, with striking environmental descriptions and sound dialogue, is skillful and ensures rapt attention from readers. This is a great book that should not be missed.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Nan Williams

    “Firefly” is the contemporary story of a 13 year old Syrian refugee. He has successfully gotten his widowed mother and sisters into safety in Turkey and is working his way to Germany where he plans to find a home for his family. As he is underage, he does not have proper documentation and therefore can not be admitted legally into nations along the route with other refugees. In addition to having to hide from authorities, he is also hiding from 3 ISIS hitmen who are tasked with killing him. MI6 i “Firefly” is the contemporary story of a 13 year old Syrian refugee. He has successfully gotten his widowed mother and sisters into safety in Turkey and is working his way to Germany where he plans to find a home for his family. As he is underage, he does not have proper documentation and therefore can not be admitted legally into nations along the route with other refugees. In addition to having to hide from authorities, he is also hiding from 3 ISIS hitmen who are tasked with killing him. MI6 in Britain has been made aware of the importance of the knowledge of this young man regarding upcoming and planned terrorist attacks in Europe. They, too, are seeking to find him. Basically the plot is your classic cat and mouse game with cell phones and surveillance video playing a major role. Early on the setting moves from Lesbos, a Greek island, to Macedonia (previously part of Yugoslavia) where the rest of the action occurs. Gambling on horse racing and a love interest give much needed relief from the constant chase, but the chase does continue for the entire novel. This book provides a very poignant description of the trials and tribulations of today’s refugees along with the horrific descriptions of what is being endured by nations where they are traveling. Refugee camps and refugee workers are well fleshed out. And the preponderance of enslavement, human trafficking and torture in Arab nations is brought to light as well. This novel encompasses quite a catalog of the horrors being inflicted by ISIS on today’s humanity. It is well worth reading just to get an overall picture of what’s going on. I’m grateful to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic, Mysterious Press for making this ARC available to me. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Keith Currie

    Walking with Migrants A twelve year old Syrian refugee with a baby in his arms is saved from drowning by a dolphin off the coast of Greece. This boy, blessed by luck, becomes the focus of a major man-hunt, because of the possible information he holds about IS atrocities. The novel follows his progress and that of his pursuers as he tries to make his way along the migrant trail of eastern Europe. This is an effective, if pretty standard, thriller. The narrative is simple and straightforward, follow Walking with Migrants A twelve year old Syrian refugee with a baby in his arms is saved from drowning by a dolphin off the coast of Greece. This boy, blessed by luck, becomes the focus of a major man-hunt, because of the possible information he holds about IS atrocities. The novel follows his progress and that of his pursuers as he tries to make his way along the migrant trail of eastern Europe. This is an effective, if pretty standard, thriller. The narrative is simple and straightforward, following a linear narrative through Greece and Macedonia. At its heart, I guess, is a desire to portray for the general reader what might be the reality for migrants, the dangers and the misery they face and the courage they display. There is also a pretty clear message that migrants are a necessary and important aspect for the survival of national prosperity and Europe should not be erecting barriers against them. There is also a humane and heart-warming story here as well as portrayal of evil at its worst.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    A young boy, seeking asylum for his family, is on the run, hoping to outwit terrorists determined to kill him before he can pass on the detailed terrorist plans he possesses. Told in alternating points of view between young Naji and former spy Peter Samson, the narrative, is graphic, gritty, and chilling as it recounts the stories of immigrants in peril, of those who seek to help them, and of depraved terrorists with dark and deadly agendas. With well-drawn, interesting characters, a strong sens A young boy, seeking asylum for his family, is on the run, hoping to outwit terrorists determined to kill him before he can pass on the detailed terrorist plans he possesses. Told in alternating points of view between young Naji and former spy Peter Samson, the narrative, is graphic, gritty, and chilling as it recounts the stories of immigrants in peril, of those who seek to help them, and of depraved terrorists with dark and deadly agendas. With well-drawn, interesting characters, a strong sense of place, and an of-the-moment plot, this is a story that speaks to both the depravity and the nobleness of mankind. The ever-building tension of this pulse-pounding cat-and-mouse plot pulls readers in from the beginning. The harrowing, heart-rending tale is likely to be impossible to set aside before turning the final page. Highly recommended. I received a free copy of this eBook from Grove Atlantic and NetGalley #Firefly #NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    An ex-MI6 agent gets caught up in the race to find a young Syrian refugee, who is making his way to Europe. Terrorists are also after the young boy as he holds vital information as to their plans - can Paul Samson find him first? Whilst the focus in on Naji and the people he meets on the way, the book flies by. The author does a good job of conveying the potential horrors and dangers that a young person would face on such a journey. Naji has just the right combination of pluck, intelligence, cunn An ex-MI6 agent gets caught up in the race to find a young Syrian refugee, who is making his way to Europe. Terrorists are also after the young boy as he holds vital information as to their plans - can Paul Samson find him first? Whilst the focus in on Naji and the people he meets on the way, the book flies by. The author does a good job of conveying the potential horrors and dangers that a young person would face on such a journey. Naji has just the right combination of pluck, intelligence, cunning, and compassion to make him a fascinating character. When it came so Samson, however, I was not so enamoured and felt some bits of his story were less engrossing. Overall though it is a great read. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Quercus Books, for the opportunity to review an ARC.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mich

    The best aspect of Firefly by Porter is the harrowing description of refugees escaping from the. Middle East and their experiences as migrants attempting to enter Europe. That said, as a 13 year old, Firefly’s intelligence and resourcefulness is incredible and that is one of the flaws in the book. It is simply not to be believed, unless one can imagine him as a superhero from Marvel. In addition, Samson, the MI6 contractor hired to find him to retrieve information that Firefly has recorded on hi The best aspect of Firefly by Porter is the harrowing description of refugees escaping from the. Middle East and their experiences as migrants attempting to enter Europe. That said, as a 13 year old, Firefly’s intelligence and resourcefulness is incredible and that is one of the flaws in the book. It is simply not to be believed, unless one can imagine him as a superhero from Marvel. In addition, Samson, the MI6 contractor hired to find him to retrieve information that Firefly has recorded on his cell phone concerning terror activities has a pretty flat character as a gambler on horse racing. The book is too long and the too numerous misses where Samson just fails to encounter Firefly are exasperating to the reader. I received this book from Netgalley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Professorspottke

    This was a bit slow to start but picked up as I became more attached to the main characters. However, the editing of this book was pretty shabby. There were words missing, word order inverted, and words added unnecessarily. This was extremely distracting. I wanted to chalk it up to the characters speaking broken English, but when most of these errors were the narrator, I could give no explanation but to wonder who could have read this and missed these numerous errors? If you're able to move beyon This was a bit slow to start but picked up as I became more attached to the main characters. However, the editing of this book was pretty shabby. There were words missing, word order inverted, and words added unnecessarily. This was extremely distracting. I wanted to chalk it up to the characters speaking broken English, but when most of these errors were the narrator, I could give no explanation but to wonder who could have read this and missed these numerous errors? If you're able to move beyond these distractions, here is an enjoyable read (once you get beyond page 50 or so)--timely, dark, and the main character is strong, intelligent, and resilient.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Roz DeKett

    Really enjoyed this spy thriller and being taken along a journey, mostly through the eyes of a Syrian boy running for his life from terrorists, through refugee camps and along migrant trails in Europe. Strong storytelling, complex plot, believable and relatable characters, and crisp, entertaining dialogue. Even though I suspected where we were heading for an ending, I remained gripped; and it's a satisfying ending. The sense of place is strong and the settings visual and well-done. Added bonus f Really enjoyed this spy thriller and being taken along a journey, mostly through the eyes of a Syrian boy running for his life from terrorists, through refugee camps and along migrant trails in Europe. Strong storytelling, complex plot, believable and relatable characters, and crisp, entertaining dialogue. Even though I suspected where we were heading for an ending, I remained gripped; and it's a satisfying ending. The sense of place is strong and the settings visual and well-done. Added bonus for me: the horseracing sub-plot.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This is so much more than a spy thriller. As the story of a young refugee from Syria, moving through camps in Greece and Macedonia trying to reach Germany, it embodies the strength of the human spirit to not just survive but to do what is right. The characters are very well drawn, the setting is described with chilling accuracy, and the novel moves at a breathtaking pace. And given the state of the world today, it is a timely reminder of the struggle of so many to simply find a safe place to liv This is so much more than a spy thriller. As the story of a young refugee from Syria, moving through camps in Greece and Macedonia trying to reach Germany, it embodies the strength of the human spirit to not just survive but to do what is right. The characters are very well drawn, the setting is described with chilling accuracy, and the novel moves at a breathtaking pace. And given the state of the world today, it is a timely reminder of the struggle of so many to simply find a safe place to live. Thanks to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press for providing the ARC for me to read.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Georgina Moon

    I picked this up in a book swap and didn’t realise that it was newly published. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but now I would definitely like to. This is a book about terrorism and espionage, set in the Middle East. It is a clever story, a real page turner. As you can see, I’m a rubbish reviewer of books! If I finish a book a generally love it, otherwise why would I carry on and read a book if I didn’t like it?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    I really enjoyed this book. As an avid crime reader it is difficult to find a book that feels fresh with a plot which isn’t in some sense predictable. What a great story told from several points of view, from a vulnerable child to a seasoned hunter of lost people. I will not give too much away but this book drew me in and had me taking any spare minute to check in with the characters. Read it, you won’t regret it.

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