Pursued by the authorities, Astra helps Donnie McLennan to use his unusual powers to travel cyberspace in search of answers. His wife has been abducted and the authorities are no help. In a United States in which the Pentegon has ceased pwer from the whitehouse, an Agent Farell from the FBI appears at his door. Thus begins this exciting romp across continents as Donnie joins Pheadrus who leads a resistence effort named The Convention attempting to restore freedom to his adopted country.
The Butterfly and the Bull is a fast paced action thriller with an interesting interpretation of cyber technology. The plot moves at a breakneck pace to its conclusion providing no periods of bordom in between.
I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Novel,February 8, 2012
On occasion a new author debuts with an excellent, imaginative and well crafted book; one that grips the reader from the first chapter, holds his attention, and leaves him awaiting a sequel. Mr Haddon manages this easily, by writing in a manner that neither insults the reader, nor baffles with un-necessary use of vocabulary, and throws in a unique ability on the hero’s part to give a fast-paced and easy-to-read book.
Highly recommended, this book will appeal to a wide audience, and deserves a place on the best-sellers list. I note several of my Facebook friends have also bought the book and enjoyed it. Give it a go and you’ll be keeping an eye out for the sequel, like me, which I understand is already being written.
In this marvelous thriller, the government of the United States has collapsed due to a world economic meltdown, and the military has taken over. Shots can be heard all over the city, even as the protagonist and his girlfriend head to a restaurant for a quiet dinner. We are one step away from martial law in our own country, and innocent people are being pulled off the street and spirited away in black SUVs on orders of the FBI.
I talked about this scenario with some friends, and we all agreed it seemed awfully plausible. In the book a resistance movement has coalesced in reaction to the military coup d’état and the kidnappings, and there is hope.
Our main character is a transplanted Scotsman living in the U.S. for some years now. Two things you learn about Donnie: he has premonitions, and he’s a world class computer hacker, in part thanks to his psychic powers.
When Donnie’s newlywed wife is abducted by the FBI, he learns he can gain her release if only he will work for the military government. Hero that he is, he instead joins the resistance. Now he both has to rescue his wife from the FBI’s clutches and also overthrow the government.
The writing throughout this book is elegant and spare, alternating riveting action with meaningful flashbacks to Donnie’s childhood or other scenes from his past. The workings of his brain are central to the development of the plot, so it all fits together beautifully. The action moves from Washington D.C. to the Chesapeake Bay to an ocean crossing in a small craft, to Ireland and England, and back again. Bonds grow strong through shared hardship and danger between Donnie and a battle-scarred band of others who are determined to fight for what is right. The special relationship between America and the UK is affirmed.
A small sample of Haddon’s prose: “Our wake trailed behind us, a transient signature of our passage. People slept. Except John. I took the helm just as dawn revealed a bloody mess of sky to the east. Sailor’s warning. A fresh breeze began to brush the oily look from the sea and stirred the surface into wavelets.” There is a self assurance here that belies his status as a first-time novelist.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of The Butterfly and the Bull. This book reminded me not a few times of the early Tom Clancy novels, in which the characters were fully developed and in which there were always deep moral underpinnings to the basic story. In this book, the first novel of author Stuart Haddon, a perfect balance is achieved between a good, taut storyline, well-drawn characters, and fine writing.
This terrific thriller meets all of my personal criteria for a great read: the plot moves briskly and enticingly; the characters are diverse and compelling; the settings are woven artfully into the story without getting in the way of the steady pace. It is literate and fun.
I am sorry that this is a first novel. I’d like to be able to go back to the shelves and find a dozen more. Sequel, please, Mr. Haddon.
Great read… only problem was having to put it down! Will look forward to more adventures of Donnie and O’Malley.
If you like your adventure with just a touch of fantasy in a dystopian (not so far off) future, you will enjoy this story of a Scotsman who loses his wife to the FBI and gets her back, saving the US of A in the process by using a combination of his own unusual skills and some useful friends old & new. Not all the friends are as they seem at first. Some of the story is told in flashback allowing the author to reveal things just in time for a related bit of action.There is Scots dialect and quaint Irish/Scots places & characters and a good feel for place. All in all a good read & I look forward to the hinted at sequel.
The worst fears of the American patriot movement are realized, only, it’s not Middle Eastern Muslims or European Socialists who have overthrown American democracy: it is the Americans themselves, specifically those in charge of the nation’s defense. Enter Donnie McLennan, a man with a special vision, a fugitive who moves through cyberspace like a phantom on a life-or-death scavenger hunt. But beyond virtual clairvoyance, McLennan lacks any special power, and he cannot rely on deus ex machina to extricate him from danger or undermine the very real threats chasing him to ground. With a coven of dark allies and his guts to rely on, he is in for the race of his life as he seeks at once to rescue his wife, save his own neck, and bring back freedom to an America caught in a nightmare of its own making. Hold on, and read The Butterfly and the Bull.
Page turner is too cliché a phrase to describe Stuart Haddon’s “The Butterfly & the Bull.” This book is much more, pleasantly. The seamless transitions from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, chapter to chapter, intertwined with a wonderful array of lively characters whose dialogues make me wish that I had written them, leaves the reader eager for more, more that can be found simply by turning to the next page.
Set in the not-too-distant future, The Butterfly & the Bull features hero Donnie McLennan who possesses a special talent that causes him to become a wanted man. The story follows his global adventures as he attempts to avoid being captured by an assortment of international bad guys who want to use his talent to their own ends. All the while Donnie plans a rescue of his wife who has been kidnapped by a man named Farrell. Though McLennan is the hero, I was most taken by O’Malley, a vivid, larger-than-life character whose words were crafted with care and explode off the page. O’Malley is so bad, in the colloquially good-guy way.
The subtlety of Haddon’s writing style is one of its many strengths. He overstates nothing, wastes very few words but is able to deliver maximum plot development, believable characterization and dead-on dialogue spoken by a rich variety of distinctive heroes and villains.
Though I would have enjoyed seeing more of O’Malley and despite a thought that perhaps Farrell should have been featured in a couple more chapters, these considerations are negligible when recognizing Haddon’s talent for telling a good story. The Butterfly & the Bull is one book that will be enjoyed by any one who loves a good story told by a very good writer.
Well, my reading of The Butterfly and the Bull went like this. I planned to read for half an hour before bed and stretch the book out. I started at 10pm and when I looked at the clock it was 2am. Damn Mr. Haddon, I needed that sleep.
The nicest thing anyone can say about a book is that it is a good read. This is a very good read. Haddon has a distinct voice, and I could hear his Scottish brogue as I read. I advise you set aside some time and burrow in and enjoy. I did and I’m hoping for a sequel – soon.
I love a book that starts off with a bang! Riots in D.C. have become violent, the President has abdicated power, and the control is with the military… abductions, deceit, conspiracy, bounty hunters, betrayal… It grabs you from the very beginning and never lets you go!