It’s difficult to believe No Free Man is the debut novel of Graham Potts. The complexity of his characters, the breadth of his storytelling, and the fine-tuned sub-plots mark the signs of an experienced and successful writer.
No Free Man is an epic tale of international espionage launched with the discovery of oil in Australian waters. As Russia prepares to finalise an oil deal with China, a major Russian crime syndicate prepares a political coup with steps to ensure Australia’s oil reserves never see the light of day. Meanwhile, internationally-feared hit-man, The Wolf, goes off-mission to assassinate someone on Australian soil, launching a local investigation that will ultimately unravel in the depths of Moscow’s presidential palace.
The fast-paced plot rollicks along on a cinematic scale, spanning multiple continents and filled with graphic fight sequences, big explosions, and international intrigue, peppered with a surprisingly quaint love story that binds the two central characters together. There’s obvious influence from Hollywood blockbusters in Potts’ depiction of the many action sequences, but that familiarity aids the momentum and adds to Potts’ unexpected sense of humour.
His characters are detailed, with rich histories and intricate relationships. Each personality is unique and the dialogue is tight but natural. Potts doesn’t waste words as he slowly unravels each layer of the intricate plot and those it involves.
The title of No Free Man comes from the Magna Carta, written in 1215, which states:
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
Despite being his debut novel, Potts has – rightly so – already been compared to the likes of acclaimed action author Matthew Reilly. Put both these authors in the same room and it would be anyone’s guess whose pen would make the mightier sword.
No Free Man is available now in paperback and eBook through Pantera Press.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 10
Publisher: Pantera Press
Release Date: January 2016
RRP: Paperback $19.99, eBook $9.99
- Visit Graham Potts’ website