cabal – michael dibdin


Like many people, after watching the first episode of Zen on BBC1 last week, I though I might try one of the books.  I think Amazon were counting on this and had this one, which is the third in the Aurelio Zen series at just £1 on Kindle.

(Is it just me, or is Rufus Sewell getting better with age btw?)

Anyway, I was about 75% of the way through when Sunday’s episode #2 came on, and because of the start, I realised that it must be the book I was reading.  Which it was, except in no shape or form was it.  Apart from the opening scene being that of someone plummeting to their death in what was made to look like a suicide, there was absolutely no similarities between the book and the series.

Which I think was a good thing, because I’m rather enjoying seeing Rufus Sewell running around Rome without a trace of an Italian accent.

The book was…well, enjoyable.  And the last quarter of it, was actually really rather good!

It was first published in 1992, so some of it takes a bit of getting used to.  There were no mobile phones, and there was quite a big chunk of story taken up explaining how the central police computer worked (which was little more than a VDU obviously).

I think my problem with the book was that there seemed to be a hell of a lot of ‘dead’ story.  I got bored quite frequently while I was reading it, and found myself skipping paragraphs.  I was also rather confused by the huge number of characters, and I know that they were Italian names, but some of them seemed so similar that I kept getting them mixed up.  This felt exasperated by the fact that sometimes their first name was used, and sometimes their surname – and I don’t mean in dialogue, I mean as part of the story.

I’m not going to rush to read another Zen, but if I was searching for something to read (which i never seem to any more), I certainly wouldn’t write the books off.

And I will definitely be continuing to watch Rufus galavanting around 🙂


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