The threat of terrorism is often realized throughout the world. Many times these threats come from outside sources, different countries with differing beliefs and wants. Yet there is also the danger lurking within the countries, those ideas and beliefs that run a divergent path to what the government delivers. Nestled within the safety of being a citizen, the terror radiating from the internal patriots can prove more deadly than that from distant shores.
The Muffin Man by Stephan Collina, takes us on a collision course of betrayal, love, drugs and political manipulation. Following a premonition of the President’s wife, a chain of events is set into motion and will rock the country to its very fiber. The events begin in strange incidences that seem very separate on the outside, yet begin to weave into delicate patterns that strengthen as time moves forward. Interactions begin that tie and then later bind, guiding and directing an eclectic group of individuals to a common goal, one that is known to only a select few.
Acting with impunity and given free reign, nothing is considered sacred in the form of moral rectitude. Life and death hold little meaning, yet jealousy and rage burst forth with vigor, threatening to topple all the pieces already put into place. Betrayal carries a sentence and yet depravity guarantees its place.
In an intricate and deadly pattern, Collina takes us on a journey of time and gives us the characters of a nation diverse in history. The flaws and human emotion create a genuine feel while the anger and mistakes pull you forward, holding your interest. The intensity builds slowly, and while there seems to be some strange and out of cycle distractions, Collina slowly pulls the rope allowing the curtain to raise just inches at a time, drawing out the drama.
While I found the buildup and foreshadowing to be slow reading, the events can only come together in such a way. If you enjoy terror and history, political intrigue and human interest you may find this a book to look too. The surprise ending was a bit of a shock and I was not comfortable with it, yet as the plot settled I could finally understand the events. I enjoyed the interplay amongst many of the characters, and felt they seemed real. The events could carry plausibility, yet one can be glad of the fiction behind the story.
Some might find the telling of the story offensive, and if you are not comfortable about terrorism or internal strife, you might take a pass. However if you enjoy a tale of intrigue with the possibility of immense and sinister repercussions, you have found the tale to take you there. This would be a strong book for a reading or discussion group, full of possible dialogue.
About Stephan Collina:
Stephan Collina grew up in the 1970s: a troubled time of recession, poverty, industrial disruption, political tension and terrorism. But for younger people, it was also a post-1960s wide-flared, drug-enhanced and extravagant-haired innocence.
Stephan later became a prominent businessman, acquainted with a number of high-ranking politicians. Stephen ran international technology businesses, spending a great deal of time in the USA and various European and African countries.
The Muffin Man grew from a combination of these unique experiences: his early knowledge of the sometime innocent business of drug dealing (although he never inhaled), and of the much dirtier businesses of covert political and military action, and of international business practices.
Stephan's first novel explored the nefarious and complicated emotional and sexual relationships of a remote village in Wales, where he had spent his early years.
Stephan holds a degree in Philosophy. He is also a qualified commercial ship's captain. He now lives quietly by the sea, and concentrates on his writing and related filmmaking activities.