Hildur is on the run from her elite organization determined to kill any that get in their way.
The Watcher. Ready. Waiting for the target. Hildur is tracking her current target in the picturesque Iceland. Hired to kill. She is on the lookout for anyone that might increase the body count. Trained in body and mind, she is after a hacker part of a larger network. Unassuming and attuned to blending in, most do not suspect who she is until it is too late.
An operative part of a clandestine organization called TESS, Hildur’s loyalty is tested when she decides to lie to protect someone.
A mission goes wrong putting Hildur and another operative Hans in a dangerous situation. Fighting for survival and not able to trust their own organization to get them out. Hildur is on the run, with no one to protect her, she is alone, having to use her skills to battle against those out to destroy her.
Hildur. A fascinating and complex character that blurs the lines between good and bad. Although she may seem slightly psychotic at times, there is an enticing aspect to her. For some reason, you are rooting for her, and you don’t know why… Throughout the story there are flashbacks to her training that provides insight to what Hildur is about to do, which is something I quite liked.
Hildur is built up to be a strong and capable operative that pushes herself, and proves to the audience she is just as capable as her male counterparts despite her size. She uses her knowledge of how to use her opponent’s weaknesses against them in order to overpower them.
“Halfway through the turn, she struck him with an open-palm chop to the Vagus nerve on the side of the neck, tricking the brain momentarily into thinking the blood pressure was too high, and the brain then trying to balance it out – by shutting it down. He flopped to the ground in an instant, and remained motionless.”Beginner’s Luck.
Hildur is part of an organisation that partakes in manipulating situations and catching their target through a range of tactics. There is a little backstory to her capabilities, throughout the narrative there are flashbacks to her earlier training, her progression as a fighter, and her accomplishments on missions.
Early on I got a good sense of Hildur and why she is the way she is, and who she is. The supporting cast provides a colourful plot, highlighting Hildur’s abilities.
Then there’s Hans. Another operative part of Hildur’s organisation. Handsome, confident and cocky – her rival and sometimes partnered with on missions. Maren is a no-nonsense handler suspicious of Hildur, and a force to be reckoned with.
Short chapters help to build up the pace, driving the plot forward quicker than it probably is going, as it is a bit slow to start building up character background. The titled chapters hint at what the chapters are going to be about. I’ve come across a few of these books lately, and I’m quite liking the titled chapters.
There’s not a clear objective to the plot to start off with. There are just missions that Hildur goes on that puts her life at risk, and when a mission is compromised, that’s when the suspense starts to pick up as Hildur has to determine how and who compromised them.
Hildur’s motivation is now to battle the people she works for. The plot progresses at a fast pace as Hildur has to take out her attackers one by one.
Hans and Hildur would be considered the protagonists with a dark side to them. They are not what you would traditionally consider the ‘good guy’. Instead, they are trained killers that have empathy, fighting an organisation that will take out anyone that threatens to get in their way, directly or indirectly. Their targets are not necessarily criminals. TESS borders the grey, the person in charge crosses the lines, and does not care who the collateral damage is going to be.
It is not a complicated plot line, not a mystery to be solved, or a psychological profile dug into. Instead, it is a cut and dry action thriller with Hildur and Hans taking out those that are coming after them.
It is not the who, it is about the why. What triggered her organization to suddenly come after her?
Those looking for a solid action adventure with realistic fight scenes and a strong female character, give this one a try. I have a feeling, there may be more coming…
Thank you to Reedsy and M.J. Furtek for providing me a copy for this review.