Title: Burning Angels
Author: Bear Grylls
Publication Date: 2 June 2016
A prehistoric corpse entombed within an Arctic glacier, crying tears of blood.
A jungle island overrun by rabid primates – escapees from a research laboratory’s Hot Zone.
A massive seaplane hidden beneath a mountain, packed with a Nazi cargo of mind-blowing evil.
A penniless orphan kidnapped from an African slum, holding the key to the world’s survival.
Four terrifying journeys. One impossible path. Only one man to attempt it.
Will Jaeger. The Hunter.
I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Burning Angels because I picked up the previous novel a couple of months ago and I was pleasantly surprised that it was a pretty entertaining read. Now that I finally got it and read through it, I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. There’s some areas where it is an improvement over the first book and there are others where the other one was better. However my problem is that this book didn’t feel like a Bear Grylls book like the first one did.
Burning Angels is Bear Grylls’ second thriller novel featuring ex-soldier and adventurer Will Jaeger. Having found a Nazi warplane hidden the jungle and evidence that his family are still alive after being kidnapped three years ago, Will Jaeger sets out to hunt the man responsible for taking her. Going undercover with his partner Irina Narov as a newlywed couple on a safari, Jaeger infiltrates the man’s hidden base and finds that the whole world is in danger from something known only as the Gottvirus.
This book is a pretty fast moving, action-packed book. It takes a bit to get going and the ending is quite abrupt and anti-climactic, but in between there’s lots of little pieces of action here and there. The story was interesting as it combined the Nazi angle from the first book along with a world-wide threat in biological weapons. It follows on pretty closely from Ghost Flight, so I would recommend reading that first. I feel that Grylls’ writing style improved with this book but the story wasn’t as good as the first book.
My biggest problem with this book is that it doesn’t feel like a Bear Grylls book for the most part. The first book, Ghost Flight, was a big action-adventure novel and it had the same sort of feel as one of Grylls shows on television, which is what got me interested in it. This book however felt like it just a pretty stock-standard spy thriller kind of book and except for a couple of small moments, it didn’t feel like a Bear Grylls story. It felt like Grylls moved away from his area of expertise in this book and that really hurt my enjoyment of it.
The characters in the book were a bit of a mixed bag. I was glad that Grylls cut down on the number of main characters in the book because it was a lot easier to follow just Jaeger and Narov than a bunch of 10 or so different people. However I still feel that Jaeger himself is a pretty boring character. He’s just too perfect and it seems he always knows everything and can do everything. It’s hard to relate to him when he’s not really a flawed character. On the other hand, Narov is a very good character. I liked that Grylls was able to come up with backstory that fit the character and explained her quite well.
All in all, Burning Angels is a fast-paced book that combines elements of spy thrillers with action and adventure. While the first book Ghost Flight was immediately recognisable as a Bear Grylls-esque story, it feels like Grylls moved away from that for this book and the result is a spy thriller that focuses on a Nazi terror plot. It will be interesting to see if this series continues on because the ending, although not the most satisfying, did leave unresolved threads.
Worth a read? If you like Bear Grylls’ TV shows and his first novel Ghost Flight, but also enjoy spy thrillers then Burning Angels would be perfect for you. It’s a spy thriller/action-adventure hybrid focusing on a Nazi terror plot that is action-packed and fast-paced.