Searle worked in British intelligence for more than 25 years and his experience is put to excellent use. The inquiry scenes could be drawn from real life and the tradecraft is authentic as the jihadis dodge surveillance. Searle steps inside the heads of the young recruits, showing their confusion and alienation while making no excuses for the joy they take in slaughter. Rashid, however, has doubts on his return. “He was killing daily . . . but he had not imagined it would be like this. He thought it would be more noble.”
The narrative skitters on occasion as Searle switches point of view too often and too quickly, but he has delivered a thought-provoking read that bursts with tension.