A Time To Kill


Lea Carpenter's new thriller about Revenge, Espionage and War is Eerily Timely

What a welcome change from Epstein-related material, to read Ilium, a new literary spy-thriller by a very old, dear friend, Lea Carpenter, whose elevated prose-style is joyous to read. Like all the best writers, Lea uses the particular – a young, single impecunious British woman, whose parents are dead, and who is unwittingly recruited as a CIA asset – to tell a universal story about all the shades of grey that compose humanity. And war.

With nods to Greek mythology, Carpenter’s suspenseful tale of international espionage and revenge deliberately refuses to pinpoint one side as good and the other side as bad. What she’s interested in highlighting is complexity. How people on both sides are capable of ugliness, brutality, deception, but also love and compassion. Simultaneously.

Even the book’s title Ilium – the code name given to the spy operation Carpenter’s heroine finds herself recruited to – is a wry sleight of hand. Given the obsession one of the main characters has with the Iliad and the parallels, in particular, between the story of the Trojan Horse and the way in which Carpenter’s protagonist must pose as something she is not in order to inveigle herself into the bosom of a family she is to betray, readers are tempted for much of the book to think that they understand the double-entendre.

But no. Carpenter takes her time to reveal that the hidden meaning lies outside Greek mythology. In fact: “Ilium was a scriptural reference to the biblical idea that there is a ‘time to kill.’ That there is such a thing as moral vengeance…”

Read on at Vicky Ward Investigates