Since reading Tom Rob Smith’s Russian trilogy of ‘Child 44’, ‘The Secret Speech’ and ‘Agent 6’, I have been looking forward to his next novel with great anticipation. ‘The Farm’ is a completely different book that still showcases Smith’s excellent skills as a writer.
Daniel lives in London with his partner Mark. His parents have retired and moved to a small farm in his mother’s childhood country of Sweden. Daniel believes his parents to be happy in their new life and has put off visiting because he knows it is time to tell them about his homosexuality.
Then Daniel receives a frantic phone call from his father Chris telling him that his mother Tilde is very sick and has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Before Daniel can board a flight to Sweden, Tilde phones him to tell him she needs the police, not doctors. There is a conspiracy going on and she is on her way to London.
Most of the book deals with Tilde telling Daniel about what has been going on in Sweden – with proof in the form of Tilde’s journal and other items she has brought with her. Daniel and Tilde are in hiding from Chris who has also flown to London to track Tilde down.
Daniel, who has never before seen his parents in any sort of conflict, is forced to decide which of his parents is telling the truth – Is his father part of a dreadful conspiracy or is his mother delusional? While reading, we receive the information at the same time as Daniel, so are faced with the same choices.
Mild-mannered and accepting by nature, Daniel eventually travels to Sweden to find out the answers for himself. And, some of what he discovers is even more frightening than the story his mother has told him.
At first glance, some of the story came across as a bit tedious and boring. But, as soon as I looked a bit deeper, there were loads of issues covered, mostly around mental health and the personal cost of keeping secrets within a family and a community. I can’t say much more without spoiling the story, but I’m very tempted to re-read the beginning now that I know the end.
This was an excellent and very quick read and I am looking forward to more novels from Tom Rob Smith.
Book Published 2014