The Black Fox is a fast-paced work of thriller ﬁction penned
by author Gordon Bickerstaﬀ, and forms the third book in the Lambeth Group
In this exciting instalment to the series, Zoe Tampsin takes
on the task of hiding and guarding the scientist Gavin Shawlens from US agents
who are seeking him out in the UK. Zoe, code-named the title’s ‘Black Fox’ for
her superb work in Bosnia, weaves her way through a delicate web of secrets and
ever impending threats, even with the haphazard academic in tow.
Gavin is experiencing memory blocks and terrifying
nightmares, but he also holds the key to a devastating conspiracy that the USA
doesn’t want uncovered. It’s up to Zoe to keep him alive and ﬁnally uncover the
For thriller fans, author Gordon Bickerstaﬀ creates a
perfect recipe with all the ingredients needed to please his audience. Zoe
Tampsin is a special agent with plenty of skills and smarts, stylized beauty,
and an easily imagined prowess that makes her come to life like a Hollywood
There’s a lot of work put into the emotional components of
the tale, which add realism to the blockbuster plot and make the reading experience
more credible overall.
The dialogue was well written and clear in its
exposition of the mysteries of the plot, and I found that the conspiracies and
answers given were very satisfying to the overall journey.
The Black Fox is certainly highly recommended for fans of
high-octane action novels and involved, stylish thrillers.
In The Black Fox by
Gordon Bickerstaﬀ, scientist Gavin Shawlens has been targeted by the CIA for
assassination for holding vital information that could bring the entire country
to its knees. MI5 secret service captain Zoe Tampsin has been assigned to keep
him alive and takes him underground until he can remember what is so valuable
to the US government.
A huge manhunt begins as not only the CIA trawl the UK to
ﬁnd them, but also British special forces who have been promised billions in
military upgrades in exchange for Shawlens. With few weapons and even her own
mentor trying to track them down, Zoe is facing her toughest mission yet and a
decision that goes against all her instincts.
But even she doesn't realize how far the intelligence
services will go to ﬂush them out. I am not normally a fan of espionage novels
but this author's skill in storytelling has certainly changed my mind.
The plot is unique and fast paced with twists and turns
throughout. I could not see how Zoe could escape from the dangerous situations,
but somehow, she did.
Every one of the many characters was so realistic, but
all with personality ﬂaws which made them all the more believable. The
intricate details in the dialogue and narrative showed the author had
researched his subject well. The deals that went on behind the closed doors of
intelligence agencies were very interesting.
I loved the relationship between Zoe and her brother Michael
who knew her character so well; it was clear Zoe only allowed a few people
close to her and he was deﬁnitely top of the list. Without giving anything
away, I thought the scene between Karen and Zoe was a real tear-jerker. Zoe and Gavin had a great relationship too. They were complete opposite personalities and their exchanges were quite comical in parts as away from the subject of science, he wasn't the brightest or bravest. The tension and suspense were broken up cleverly with real emotional moments but also humour too. I highly recommend this novel but be prepared to go on a roller-coaster of never-ending action, thrills and intrigue.
The Black Fox is third in author Gordon Bickerstaﬀ’s Lambeth
Group Thriller series. Lead character is Zoe Tampsin, a feisty, exceptionally
resourceful former British Special Services oﬃcer seconded to MI5 (also known
as the Security Service), who is asked by her boss, Sir Milton Johnson, to
babysit Dr Gavin Shawlens. The scientist has been targeted by the CIA for
The Company knows he has a secret hidden in the depths of
his subconscious which, if it ever surfaced, would cause an international
incident of monumental proportions. To justify itself to its British
counterparts, the CIA maintains that Shawlens is a national security threat.
Things get complicated when Sir Milton tells Zoe that no one, not even
colleagues in her own organization, can know the details of her assignment.
As the pressure to ﬁnd Shawlens intensiﬁes, Zoe ﬁnds herself
pitted not only against the might of the CIA and resources available to it from
other American security and military organizations, but those of her own
country as well.
Eventually, the pair is tracked down by her former mentor and
they are surrounded, trapped in their own nightmare. As the hunters move in,
Zoe must make the decision of a lifetime. If she is wrong, she will die with
the man she has been entrusted to protect. If she is right, she will discover
the secret locked in a vault in his memory and become a target for
Gordon Bickerstaﬀ knows his stuﬀ. If he doesn’t, he sure
sounds convincing. The Black Fox covers operational matters pertaining to the
CIA, Britain’s MI5, as well as military and law enforcement procedures. This is
why it is such a riveting read. You tend to believe what’s going on, even
though the subject matter is, in fact, unbelievable.
The Black Fox is a joy to
read, particularly if, like me, you are partial to thrillers in this sub-genre.
Bickerstaﬀ meanders seamlessly from the Oval Oﬃce in Washington to MI5
headquarters in Thames House, London, and to various other geographical
locations in the UK and North America, keeping his readers enthralled at all
Just when you think you’re getting a breather from this
fast-paced thriller, something happens to get your adrenaline racing again.
Just one word of caution: there are many characters and a lot of scenes on both
sides of the Atlantic so you need to keep your wits about you. But this is a
book you won’t want to put down.