Battle Sight Zero by Gerald Seymour review

Battle Sight Zero is the thirty-fifth novel by Gerald Seymour and the tenth new book to be released since he changed publishers to Hodder books a decade ago.

Zeinab is a Muslim girl from the North of England. She has become radicalised and along with the other members of her cell is planing a terrorist atrocity. To carry it out they will need guns, specifically the AK-47 Kalashnikov.

Andy Knight is Zeinab’s boyfriend. However it soon becomes clear that he is not what he seems and is in fact an undercover police officer from SC&O 10 inserted into Zeinab’s life to thwart the plot. To complicate matters he has growing feelings and respect for Zeinab.

Using some contacts with the criminal underworld Zeinab’s people have arranged to transport one AK-47 from Marseilles to England as a trial run. If successful they will be back for more. A driver is needed and Zeinab volunteers Andy.

In Marseilles we meet immigrant brothers Hamid and Karym. Hamid is a seller of drugs in the large estate of La Castellane. And as it happens his brother Karym is obsessed with the AK-47.

As always Seymour introduces a large cast of characters on both sides of the law in both Britain and France including Andy’s police handlers Pegs and Gough and a French police sniper known as Samson. The reader knows their paths will intersect at the climax of the book, their lives touched by the single AK-47 being smuggled.

One of my favourite things about the book is how alongside the main narrative it presents a sort of biography of the weapon being smuggled, from manufacture in a Soviet factory in the 1950s through various conflicts up until it reaches Zeinab and Andy. It is reminiscent of the back story of the minefield in the book The Untouchable.

This is another expertly constructed tale from Gerald Seymour.

Battle Sight Zero is published by Hodder books in hardback on 10 January 2019.

Many thanks to Hodder for the review copy.