The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson paints a vivid picture of a world in the grips of a global warming catastrophe, including Arctic ice caps breaking up and falling into the ocean, and a tidal wave hitting the East Coast of the United States. Throw in some international corporate espionage, a sinking research ship, and what you have is a well-paced spy thriller.
Lovers and business partners John Spencer Larivière and Victoire Augagneur own Fermatown, a strategic consulting company. Fermatown is hired for a freelance assignment protecting the daughter of the head of North Land, an oil and gas company. What at first appears to be an easy, well-paying assignment turns out to be anything but easy. John, Victoire, and Luc, Fermatown’s computer specialist, find themselves in the midst of an international conspiracy, and in great danger.
What I liked most about this book was the description of the physical changes to Greenland as the book progressed. Greenland was quite literally breaking apart and falling into the ocean. Regardless of one’s views on global warming, Besson’s description of one possible scenario, Greenland coming apart at an ever-increasing rate and the subsequent impact on other parts of the planet, was both thought-provoking and frightening.
I also liked the pace of the novel. The story was told from multiple character viewpoints, with ever-changing settings, both of which kept the story moving along. While the story did not move at a breakneck pace until the very end, there was sufficient action and intrigue throughout the novel to keep me interested and engaged.
The one thing that I found lacking in this book was character development. John, the book’s main protagonist, could have been taken from just about any spy book. He was troubled and conflicted, and had a hard time trusting others. Victoire, John’s lover and business partner, showed concern for John, but beyond that, she had a very mechanical persona.
The character that Beeson best developed and that I found most interesting was the cuckolded captain of the Bouc-Bel-Air, Loïc Le Guévenec. A decent man, he spends his time worrying about his crippled ship, the safety of his men, the company he works for, and his unfaithful wife.
Bottom line: The Greenland Breach is an exciting, well-written spy thriller. Though it lacks character development, the story will keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Reviewer’s note: This novel, newly translated into English, was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review.