Deeply evocative of an era, the Sixties and Seventies, and places, notably Geneva, London, and Oxford--although the story also takes us around the Aegean and into the Communist Bloc--Dust on the Nettles is primarily a brilliant character study, a psychodrama with elements of John le Carre's spy thrillers. Like Le Carre's characters, Nick Kellaway, the narrator, is an enigma, and remains one, although we follow him through forty years of his life, through numerous love affairs and various episodes of violence and terrorism (the Baader-Meinhof gang loom large in the story). Quite likable when not being a thorough bastard, ruthless enough to succeed in the world of finance, he's strangely naive about his own mortal enemies until it's almost too late. Blake renders him as intriguing and multilayered a character as Milton's Satan, and in prose that soars at times he brings to life that long-ago world when he and I were young.
by Roger Boylan