I think Nick did a fantastic job of making this his first novel that had action, love interests, bumbling, humor, and the workings of an Ambassador in it. He starts out with Matt Simmonds having to go to Cuba and it escalates into a humorous trip. At the same time he is transferred to Sweden the Baltic region is being played by Latvia, Russia, United States, Sweden and Britain. Which being a British diplomat each country has a person try to interrogate Matt and then have him look for a submarine which seems to go under the radar. Matt finds the sub through trying to get back a boat he had to tie up, and swimming after it, this is a humorous meeting. Matt keeps this meeting to himself for the time being. This is the basis for the book which is where Matt meets each of the characters which he handles differently depending on what they are involved with. In the end the Swedish government was going to make a deal with the French for an arms contract but his Ambassador saved the day and also other challenges that affected the British Embassy. I haven't touched on the love interests because you should read them yourself. I gave this book four stars because it was forever changing and made you wonder what would happen.
A well-constructed and cleverly drafted page-turner with some wonderful turns of phrase ("the Swedish chef had left in a cloud of blondes") and laugh-out-loud witty dialogue. The author, a retired Ambassador, takes you behind the scenes into his life as a career diplomat to share the lighthearted aspects of life on the champagne circuit. For those who have had the good luck to spend time in Stockholm, this novel will bring you back to your favourite midsummer haunts and make you wish you were on a boat in the archipelago. I highly recommend this novel and very much look forward to the next instalment in what I hope will be a lengthy series of Matt's international adventures.
Nick Griffiths is a retired British Ambassador and first time author. His diplomatic career included postings in West Africa, France, Russia and Sweden. In Stockholm, he enjoyed exploring the nearby archipelago in a somewhat unreliable motorboat, eating Swedish food and trying to learn the language. In Moscow, he learnt the language and a logic other things.