With social media, movies, television, and more vying for readers attention, the days of those massively long epic novels are mostly a thing of the past, and yet, occasionally, a work that defies the odds comes along, determined to remind us that there is nothing like sitting down for days and being all-consumed by a work worthy of such a commitment. Ten years ago, Terry Hayes did that with I Am Pilgrim (still one of the best spy thrillers ever written), and this week he finally returns with a new novel—The Year of the Locust.
Like the earlier book, The Year of the Locust is a novel the refuses to be pigeonholed by artificial constraints like sub-genres, tropes, or tradition. What Terry Hayes has crafted is very much a spy novel—but one that is packed with thriller elements, sci-fi detours, heartfelt character development, and even some mystery.
On the most basic level, it is the story of Kane, a government operative, who must infiltrate an area long considered impenetrable in order to find a terrorist hellbent on destroying the United States and possibly the entire planet in the process.
Needless to say, there are many extreme complications on this path and Hayes certainly seems to know more than a bit about technology—both real and fantastical, so readers will find themselves with no shortage of exciting set-pieces providing the dangerous elements from which not all characters will survive.
Some will argue—probably, rightfully so—that this 800-page behemoth might have benefitted from a bit of judicious editing. But for those willing to allow the “world” of this novel to resonate in the mind, it will ultimately be an entirely enjoyable reading experience.
This comes with the caveat that readers have to be open to cross-genre works. Parts of The Year of the Locust stray off into speculative fiction and even time-travel, so it’s definitely a book that will divide readers who are looking for realism and a traditional story structure. What is undeniable is that Terry Hayes is an author who knows how to craft storylines that are as exciting as they are addictive.
So, when the news leaked revealing that Terry Hayes worked with Tammy Cohen to write the Argylle novel—on which one of the year’s most hotly-anticipated action movies is based—it sort of all made sense.
Until that movie is released, readers can dive into The Year of the Locust and see why so many fans have been waiting ten years for the follow-up to I Am Pilgrim.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.