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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. 5 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. 5 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    I shudder whenever I read a book blurb comparing the author with a recognizable “big name,” someone who is well-known by most readers. The Le Carre reference was bothersome, but I gave Henry Porter’s “Firefly” a chance, and am glad I did. The book is different than most of the spy stories on the market today. This story is written with thoughtfulness, with an eye on the plot and the characters at all time. If you are one who craves constant action with an agent whose accuracy with a gun is uncann I shudder whenever I read a book blurb comparing the author with a recognizable “big name,” someone who is well-known by most readers. The Le Carre reference was bothersome, but I gave Henry Porter’s “Firefly” a chance, and am glad I did. The book is different than most of the spy stories on the market today. This story is written with thoughtfulness, with an eye on the plot and the characters at all time. If you are one who craves constant action with an agent whose accuracy with a gun is uncanny and is only rivalled by his skill with bedding beautiful women, you will probably be bored by Mr. Porter’s tale. I found the writing descriptive, placing me in the action and constantly revealing the inner characteristics of the people that the author chose to inhabit his story. And this is where the Le Carre references originate, because this book depicts life as reality, crafting multiple stories of major and minor characters, melding them all together into a story that holds a reader’s interest with mild tension and a desire to see what happens to the people who inhabit the book’s pages. It is also where the references should end, because there is no doubt that Mr. Porter can stand on his own. “Firefly” is a compelling story, one worth the time to read slowly and savor the descriptive passages that tell of one boy’s battle to save his family and one man’s crusade to save the boy. Bottom line: Excellent writing with a plot based on realism, with characters that leap off the pages and allow you to get to know them. Five stars. My thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for an advance complimentary ebook.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Judy

    A tense international thriller involving issues in today's world: ISIS, terrorism, the refugee crisis in Europe, intelligence agencies collaborating, and more. This is a very complex story with lots of action and I really enjoyed it. I won't try to give you a synopsis since you can read that other places - I'll just tell you my impressions. I fell in love with Naji who has seen way too much for a child to deal with and was still facing so much more. My heart broke for him. I also loved the chara A tense international thriller involving issues in today's world: ISIS, terrorism, the refugee crisis in Europe, intelligence agencies collaborating, and more. This is a very complex story with lots of action and I really enjoyed it. I won't try to give you a synopsis since you can read that other places - I'll just tell you my impressions. I fell in love with Naji who has seen way too much for a child to deal with and was still facing so much more. My heart broke for him. I also loved the character and dedication of Paul Samson who always seemed to "do the right thing" and showed true concern for the people he was trying to find. The psychologist, Anastasia, was also a favorite - she showed such caring and empathy yet kept a wonderful disposition throughout. Of course I hated the ISIS characters, but also the Peter Numan and his assistant who had dated Samson (I really disliked this lady!). There were many times in the narrative that I was scared for Naji - he really had some good luck in places - maybe to balance out all the tremendous grief he had suffered. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn't flip the pages fast enough to find out what happened. If you like espionage and thrillers you will certainly enjoy this book. Great work Henry Porter! Thanks to Henry Porter and Grove Atlantic through Netgalley for an advance copy.

  5. 3 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Paul

    Firefly is a book that relies on some pretty slim coincidence at times, but isn’t that what a story like this needs? All tough cases are cracked with evidence, persistence, and a little luck. Porter’s thriller is a story that starts quickly and never lets up. If you like the Reachers and Ryans of the thriller world, this is one you won’t want to miss. Full review here: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/09/12/fi... All my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Firefly is the first thriller I've read by Henry Porter. I was impressed with the timeliness of the theme, the Syrian civil war and the desperation of the immigrants to leave that country, which made me feel as if I was reading a news story. The intelligence agency of Britain is asking one of its former agents to come back on board to help with this very specific problem. Paul Samson is ex-MI6, himself a refugee in his past and speaks fluent Arabic. There is a young immigrant last traced to a Gr Firefly is the first thriller I've read by Henry Porter. I was impressed with the timeliness of the theme, the Syrian civil war and the desperation of the immigrants to leave that country, which made me feel as if I was reading a news story. The intelligence agency of Britain is asking one of its former agents to come back on board to help with this very specific problem. Paul Samson is ex-MI6, himself a refugee in his past and speaks fluent Arabic. There is a young immigrant last traced to a Greek island who has vital information regarding a rebel group of militants. This thirteen year old boy is trying to make his way to Europe to establish political asylum for his family still in Syria. In his escape he became aware of plans this militant group has for terrorist activities. The British intelligence forces want the boy found and escorted safely to them, the militants want the boy found and killed before he reveals their plans. In steps Paul Samson. Throughout this book I was much more interested in Firefly (Naji) than I was in the supposed lead character, Paul Samson. I don't know if Samson is a recurring character in Henry Porter novels but he didn't do much for me. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic, Mysterious Press for a digital galley of this novel.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Tony

    FIREFLY. (2018). Henry Porter. ***. When I was a kid, in the late 1940s, the whole neighborhood would gather together – all the kids my age that is – and meet at the local movie theater on Saturday. That was kids day. We would be treated to one or more cartoons, a newsreel, a ‘selected’ short, a main feature, and…ta da…a serial. The serial could be any of a variety of stories that came in the form of teasing chapters. At the end of each episode the hero would be placed in some kind of danger that FIREFLY. (2018). Henry Porter. ***. When I was a kid, in the late 1940s, the whole neighborhood would gather together – all the kids my age that is – and meet at the local movie theater on Saturday. That was kids day. We would be treated to one or more cartoons, a newsreel, a ‘selected’ short, a main feature, and…ta da…a serial. The serial could be any of a variety of stories that came in the form of teasing chapters. At the end of each episode the hero would be placed in some kind of danger that he couldn’t possibly escape from. But wait…we were told to come back next week for the next week to see what happened. It was a scam, and we kids knew it. This novel is written in movie serial style. We get to follow the hero – a young boy seeking to reach safety in some European country – who, unfortunately, was witness to some horror committed by a group of terrorists. A special agent (retired) is assigned to find him and learn what the boy knows. The intent is to keep the terrorist group from reaching their European destination and committing some form of havoc on the population there. Each chapter represents some dire direction that the boy (13 years old) is thrust into – only to be saved at the beginning of the succeeding chapter. How much of this can you take. If you are addicted to the serial form, you will like this book. If not, you will do a lot of skimming.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy Weston

    This is an entertaining ‘chase’ thriller about a British spy tasked with finding a teenage refugee in the Balkans. 13 year old Naji has escaped from IS and they are after him, but he is resourceful and intelligent. It’s relatively new ground for a novel, an insightful take on the modern political landscape and the on going war on terror. Despite the stereotypical characters of the secret agent and an English educated child psychologist, the characters are convincing and believable made more power This is an entertaining ‘chase’ thriller about a British spy tasked with finding a teenage refugee in the Balkans. 13 year old Naji has escaped from IS and they are after him, but he is resourceful and intelligent. It’s relatively new ground for a novel, an insightful take on the modern political landscape and the on going war on terror. Despite the stereotypical characters of the secret agent and an English educated child psychologist, the characters are convincing and believable made more powerful and compelling by the focus on a child forced to grow up rapidly, and in the worst possible circumstances.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ela

    Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. This was not my usual reading choice but nevertheless I enjoyed the story.

  16. 5 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!?)

  17. 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    GN Taking place in the modern era, we follow a 13 year old youngster named Naji who fled from his village in Serbia with his ailing father, his mother and three younger sisters. His father's last instructions to him before he died were to try to get to Germany and establish safe harbor and transportation for his mother and sisters. Naji attempts to make his way from a Turkish refugee camp across the water to Greece, and then through Macedonia to safe harbor in Germany. Naji is small for his age, GN Taking place in the modern era, we follow a 13 year old youngster named Naji who fled from his village in Serbia with his ailing father, his mother and three younger sisters. His father's last instructions to him before he died were to try to get to Germany and establish safe harbor and transportation for his mother and sisters. Naji attempts to make his way from a Turkish refugee camp across the water to Greece, and then through Macedonia to safe harbor in Germany. Naji is small for his age, and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, so though he has funds to purchase passage on public transports, he cannot buy a ticket or ride without an adult in attendance. He is being followed by two of the three IS agents who were responsible for the attack on Naji's village murdering many, bad men who know what he saw in Serbia and want to silence him permanently. To add to his difficulties agents from Britain, Greece and assorted sundry desert nations also want to know what he knows, and they too are dogging his journey. How can you be sure who is friend, who is foe? You simply must just keep on moving. This was a very interesting tale, well paced and with action to keep you flinching and guessing and reading on long after your bedtime. Naji is an awesome kid, empathetic and smart. You can only wish the best for him and cheer at his victories. I thoroughly enjoyed Firefly and will add Henry Porter to my list of must reads. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Henry Porter, and Grove Atlantic, Mysterious Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. pub date Oct 12, 2018 Grove Atlantic, Mysterious Press

  19. 4 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.

  20. 3 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 3 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    This was not an easy book to read. It is as current as yesterday and is the story of a 13 year old refugee from the Middle East who was once part of a group of terrorists and escaped from them with his cell phone filled with data he stole from them. He is being tracked by both the terrorists and Paul Sampson, a former British Agent now a freelancer. Each has different goals for the boy. Much of it is way too detailed for my taste and complex in a mind blowing way. All in all it is well worth rea This was not an easy book to read. It is as current as yesterday and is the story of a 13 year old refugee from the Middle East who was once part of a group of terrorists and escaped from them with his cell phone filled with data he stole from them. He is being tracked by both the terrorists and Paul Sampson, a former British Agent now a freelancer. Each has different goals for the boy. Much of it is way too detailed for my taste and complex in a mind blowing way. All in all it is well worth reading and will keep the reader engrossed. Thanks to Net Galley and Mysterious Press for an ARC for an honest review.

  24. 5 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Thank you to Net Galley and Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press for providing an advanced digital copy of Firefly by Henry Porter. This thriller is a fast moving book with plenty of twists and turns. This book is perfect for those who love spy thrillers - Henry Porter does not disappoint.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    So far, so four stars. Finding it hard to put down, thought-provoking and gripping. Great all the way to the end. The character of the young boy Raji particularly compelling.

  28. 5 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

    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.

  30. 5 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.

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