A novel that’s like The Adventures of Tintin, but for grown-ups

A novel that’s like The Adventures of Tintin, but for grown-ups

By Antonia Filmer | 4 June, 2016
Anthony Gardner.

The essential ingredients of Anthony Gardner’s recent novel FOX are adventure, conspiracy, humour, a large cast of dubious characters and some goody-two shoes characters, all cleverly woven together by an unlikely plot.

Urban foxes with contagious deadly FOX flu, not dissimilar to rabies, rampage around Europe and threaten to cross the Channel to infect the populations of London and rural England.The British Prime Minister takes the surprising decision to call in the National Huntsmen and their packs of hounds to prepare to eliminate the plague.

Far away in China a professor has invented a device that can implant observation nanotechnology into humans, whichpossibly could fulfil the British PM’s secret dreams of mass surveillance if combined with a fox-flu vaccine.The Chinese Vice President Zhou is prepared to sell it but with a conditional side deal…whereby the British authorities end the activities of Anglican Christian missionaries The Brothers of Light in China.

The narrative is artfully interspersed with illustrations by Nicola and Rosanna Reed, these even come up on the Kindle version. Gardner started Ardleevan Press as an experiment to complement FOX, the Ardleevan imprint is dedicated to the quality books of yesteryear.

There is romance, espionage, collaboration, snobbery and gastronomy in the form of the Pu Dong Pudding company; to this reviewer FOX is akin to an adult version of Hergé’s the Adventures of Tintin.

All the ingredients have slim origins in truth, a disdain for the controversial English ban on FOX hunting, objections to a big-brother surveillance society, observations about the nature of animal welfare activists and the church’s destabilizing proselytising overseas, all the way to Britain’s peculiarly obsequious relationship with China; the novel is an entertaining satirical comment on the administrative, civilian and clerical societies of today.

Anthony Gardner is an Irish author and journalist based in London, he edits the Royal Society of Literature’s magazine and has twice experienced the frustrations of train travel in China that he recounts during the telling of the missionary’s great escape. He writes FOX in a friendly conversational style with descriptive details that spring the image straight into your mind.

The narrative is artfully interspersed with illustrations by Nicola and Rosanna Reed, these even come up on the Kindle version. Gardner started Ardleevan Press as an experiment to complement FOX, the Ardleevan imprint is dedicated to the quality books of yesteryear, Gardner is hoping to attract writers with similar sentiments about presentation. The FOX book is beautifully presented in scarlet bookbinding paper and traditionally blocked in black ink, Gardner has created an old fashioned library book that can be enjoyed as a light hearted romp or an insightful warning of things to come.

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