Nothing beats a good book. Actually, reading a good book, in a hammock, surrounded by sand and blue sky, with the distant sound of lapping waves on the shore probably tips it. Any seasoned traveller knows that a gripping read is an essential suitcase item – perhaps more important than your swimsuit – but choosing the right one can be tricky.
Lovers of crime thrillers everywhere take note: we have located your next summer read. The book is Kolony; an intense historical thriller set on a remote atoll of the Seychelles that combines all of the great elements of an “un-putdownable” read – action, intrigue and paradise scenery. This week Kenwood Travel spoke to the author, Glynn Burridge, to discover the man behind the literature.
Congratulations on your second novel! What can readers expect from Kolony?
Kolony is a hard-hitting historical thriller that takes place on a remote atoll of the Seychelles archipelago; one that I know well, so there is a great ring of authenticity to the story, its location and characters.
The Seychelles is obviously a big inspiration for the novel, where most of the action is set. What is it about the Seychelles that is so inspiring for a writer?
I believe because there is so much raw material here and so much genuine mystery. Seychelles was only settled 250 years ago and, as an author, one senses that there is an awful lot of history yet undiscovered. Then there is the surreal, jaw-dropping natural beauty as a backdrop and the innately exotic, island-style way of living.
Are all of the locations in the text fictional?
Oh no! They all exist! I was privileged to live on the Seychelles outer islands for 20 years, so all of these locations are real and I know them all very well and in great detail, both above and beneath the waves.
You are an Englishman who grew up in Iran and now resides in the Seychelles – that sounds like an adventure in itself?
Yes, it has been an amazing journey. Iran was beautiful back in those days and is still my spiritual home. England is my genetic home although, beyond being educated there, I have never really lived there. I came to Seychelles, my acquired home, seemingly by chance but there is something eerily fateful about my coming here, too, when I reflect upon it. Life does not really ‘do’ random, I have come to suspect.
To what extent are your characters based on real life people?
I’m not sure, really. Kolony has some extremely powerful characters and, as finished articles, I do not recognise them, although to start with they may have been loosely based on people I have come across. However, since then, they have most definitely morphed, each in their own way, and peculiarly independently of myself.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Eric Liddle?
Well he’s a fine example, because as he is part of the back story I only ever write about him in the 3rd person, which kind of keeps him in his box and at a safe distance. Otherwise, a man of his…er…powers would take over the book completely.
There is a lot of historical context in Kolony, how extensive was the research process?
The basic idea, that of the pirate republic of Libertalia, I came across in the Seychelles archives many years ago. It is an idea that I have pursued in my research through London, Paris, Nairobi, Madagascar and Moscow. The research, if I say so myself, has been painstaking.
There is a political edge to the book, particularly amongst the band of modern day travellers (IRA fugitive, American corporate whiz-kid). Is there a particular socio-political message hiding in the text?
If so, it is one that has crept in by itself. No, this story required such an array of strong, multi-faceted characters to be able to face the challenge of the Kolony, that’s all.
The novel is left fairly open-ended, is there a sequel in the making?
I have built a trap-door into Kolony, through which I might crawl to write the sequel, which would elaborate on the story of the fabulous, undiscovered treasure of La Buse the 18th century pirate, but like Kolony, in the context of modern day Seychelles and with a certain international flavour.
Finally, let’s talk about you: tell us what you do to relax away from the writing.
Hmmm…I work out quite a bit, love riding motorbikes, play tennis regularly, chill with friends and my 4 adorable pets. I also like to travel to little known places…
Visit the Kolony website to download a free chapter today!