Frederic Lindsay – Brond (1984)

Brond - Frederic Lindsay (1984)

100 Best Scottish Books of All Time

A political thriller, but a cut above the disposable airport novels of Tom Clancy, Brond throws a serpentine plot of political intrigue into central Scotland. After witnessing the mysterious Brond kill a child in Kelvingrove Park, student Robert is drawn into his Machiavellian plan to trap a dangerous IRA killer in hiding on the British mainland. Throw in a Scottish nationalist terrorist cell, an adolescent protagonist on the verge of manhood and the obligatory love interest and Brond becomes a Glaswegian Day of the Jackal. And so much more.

Ex-teacher Lindsay raises his work to the next level by weaving the action and drama into a wider tapestry, injecting percipient insights and questions about responsibility and nationhood into a high-octane page-turner that transcends its hokey premise. That he does so without recourse to literary pyrotechnics or any great innovation led to the book suffering in comparison with other Scottish works upon its 1984 release; none too great a slight when James Kelman’s The Busconductor Hines or Alasdair Gray’s 1982, Janine debuted in the same year. Nonetheless, Lindsay proved himself a formidable author, writing in a disreputable genre by making the familiar strange, twisting well known streets into a landscape of danger and unpredictability at odds with what we think we know.

Brond was later adapted into a three-part series for Channel 4, helmed by Broxburn-born director Michael Caton-Jones, most memorable for giving John Hannah his first starring role and for its oddly operatic soundtrack courtesy of Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe. Lindsay’s Jill Rips was then made into a Hollywood movie ‘starring’ Dolph Lundgren, and the author has since crafted a series of books featuring the Edinburgh detective DI Jim Meldrum, who may not have penetrated the popular consciousness quite like Rankin’s Rebus, but continues to keep crime aficionados hooked.

100 Best Scottish Books of All Time

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Brond - Introducing John Hannah as Robert

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