Firefly by Henry Porter review – flight from Isis

This post is by Alexander Larman from Books | The Guardian

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A gripping procedural takes us into a world of suffering refugees in the Middle East

Henry Porter’s latest novel not only feels unusually credible for a suspense thriller, but has a clear social purpose. In its account of refugees displaced from their homes by the ravages of Islamic State and forced to rely on their wits and petty kindnesses to survive, there is both a sharp journalistic attention to detail (Porter was a regular columnist for the Observer) and genuine anger at how we, as a society, have become inured to the almost unimaginable suffering of others. If Firefly ultimately works better as a Le Carré-esque procedural than a ripping yarn, then its attainment is a greater and more serious one.

His protagonist, who should return in other novels, is a compelling and multifaceted figure. Paul Samson, himself a former refugee, is Lebanese by birth and English by upbringing ...