Anton Faraday is the unlikely hero of The Seed of Corruption and is certainly not built for what he encounters in this novel and that was certainly part of the appeal of it for me. Whilst the book is told in the third person, as a reader, you are pretty much inside Anton’s head for the whole book, subject to his thoughts and perceptions and his fears and doubts. I like heroes who are human; who are not really sure what they are capable of until faced with uncertain circumstances and Anton definitely fits into this category.
A painter, he is surprised when he is presented with a counterfeited copy of a painting he produced that he believed was to hang in a place where it would be viewed by a few and certainly never copied. He then embarks on a quest to find out the truth about the forgery and opens up the proverbial can of worms.
Set in Vietnam, I liked the exploration of the culture and the food as well as the legacy of the American fighting in this country, all of which were constantly in the narrative, served as a stimulating educational side dish. Fabler’s plot evolves at a timely pace as Faraday delves further and further into a world in which he is surprised to find himself. There were times where you could sense that the pursuit of the answers were bringing him closer and closer to danger, although what the danger was remained tantalisingly unclear; again, one of the strengths of the book, making you want to read on to discover exactly what is going on.
And so, a book which appears to be about the hunt for a forger becomes a thriller of sorts with some romance and the threat of world subjugation by a sinister secret organisation with some social commentary to boot. It is a very thought-provoking read, reflective of the strange, intimidating times that we find ourselves living in, written with aplomb and a wry tone which gives the book an undertone of humour despite the serious matters proposed.
I really liked it and if you are a fan of William Boyd or hints of espionage or conspiracy theories, you will find much to like here. If you like them all, then you will love it.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.