Title: The Cornmarket Conspiracy
Author: Sharon Hoisager
In The Cornmarket Conspiracy, a terrorist attack in London takes the lives of men, women, and children, leaving the country distraught. When the catastrophic event happens, everyone is left on edge.
Jeffrey Hunter, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, and his assistant Annaliese Craig are caught up in the whirlwind of the aftereffects of the attack. In their attempt to pick up the pieces, they discover that there’s a deeper mystery behind the attacks that they must get to the bottom of. As Jeffrey and Annaliese uncover more about the attacks, they discover that they themselves may be connected to the people behind it.
With short chapters right from the start, the book takes off at a fast pace, setting the tone for the rest of the novel. Readers will fly through the pages as the story unravels, allowing for an easy, thrilling read. Especially at the beginning, it would have been beneficial to spend more time with each character to establish who they are. As is, new characters are introduced in each chapter, and it can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of who is who and how everyone is connected.
The third person narration in the book creates distance between the readers and the characters as well as between the characters themselves. The book does not explicitly explore the characters’ relationships but rather indirectly addresses them. Although this does amp up the mystery, especially for characters who we only hear about and never meet, having a closer, more intimate look at these relationships would have incorporated more emotion and depth into the book.
One of the book’s standout qualities is its mood. The atmosphere and tone are serious and dramatic throughout, never ceasing, which helps to build tension. London, Oxford, and Paris serve as the backdrop for much of the book, creating an elegant but fast-paced environment. Combining the tension, dialogue, and the setting, it’s easy to envision the book adapted into a movie.
Despite the characters’ stress and sense of urgency in a national emergency, many scenes in the novel serve to build tension and to flesh out the complex motives behind the attack. At times, readers may yearn for more action, though there is enough to make up for it at the novel’s end. The intense series of events that close the novel will leave readers wanting more.
Though each character is granted multifaceted personalities, there are clear antagonists in this novel. Each antagonist possesses their own personalities and agendas that make them memorable. The question of who the true villain behind the attacks is enough to keep readers locked in on the story.
There are several comments in the book that address some characters’ Middle Eastern and Arabic background. The intentions behind the emphasis on these characters’ ethnicities are unclear, since it did not play a pivotal role in the novel as a whole, nor was it explained why this characteristic was important for several narrators to point out.
In The Cornmarket Conspiracy, no one can be trusted. Hoisager’s sophisticated writing style makes this book a serious drama that will keep readers on edge as they unravel the intricate web of motives behind a heinous terror attack. Striking the perfect balance of intense and contained, The Cornmarket Conspiracy has all the qualities to make a gripping political thriller.
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