Cambodia, 1978. Amid the Khmer Rouge’s crazed genocide, soldier-of-fortune Jack Elliott is given the impossible task of rescuing a family from the regime.


Eighteen year old orphan and budding journalist Lisa Robinson has received the impossible news that her father is, in fact, alive. His name – Jack Elliott.


As Jack tracks the hostages and Lisa traces her heritage, each is intent on reuniting a family. Yet to succeed, so must run a dangerous gauntlet of bullets and betrayal.


I have read a number of Peter Mays books, and have thoroughly enjoyed them and been totally engrossed with the storylines. But this one unfortunately didn’t grab me the way his other books have done. I have seen this a novel originally written in 1980 but has been revised and updated. I’m not quite sure why this didn’t work for me personally, it maybe the setting, as well as the actual story, but I think many readers will enjoy this book. It can now be seen as set in a bit of history compared to when it was originally written.

John (Jack) Elliott was ex British Army, but had been court marshalled and put in prison for an incident that happened in Aden. He then turned to be a ‘soldier of fortune’, a gun for hire. He has built a barrier around himself to protect himself from hurt. His wife had divorced him after Aden, and told their daughter he was dead. Lisa was a young impressionable girl, and naive. Although this changed in the story as she travelled to Thailand in the search of her father, she soon learned how people will use you and abuse you. Returning to London she was a totally different girl than she was when she went to Thailand.

The action for this book is late 1970’s Thailand and Cambodia which was then known as Kampuchea and was under the control of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, Jack Elliott was hired by Ang Young to rescue his family, his wife Serey, daughter Ny and son Hau from Cambodia. He was offered a large sum of money to take on this mission. Ang Young had managed to escape four years earlier.

The story is told through several voices but with the two plots Jack as a ‘soldier of fortune’ going into Cambodia to rescue Ang Young’s family. The second is where Lisa loses her mother, to then find out her father is not dead as her mother had led her to believe. She is determined to go and find him. The two stories are intertwined and keep you on edge wondering how it is all going to end. The book has some quite descriptive scenes of what would have been happening in the region at the time. Which is now like learning history. Which some people may find difficult to read.

This is a well researched book, despite the fact that as Mr May explains, he couldn’t go into Cambodia to do the actual research, but throughout the story he manages to recreate the atmosphere that was being felt by the people who lived through these times, from the political situation to the human suffering. That side of you made you think of what was going on in those years.

I would like to than thank netgalley and riverrun publishers for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.


Peter May was born and raised in Scotland. He was an award winning journalist at the age of twenty one and a published novelist at twenty six. When his first book was adapted as a major drama series for the BBC, he quit journalism and during the high octane fifteen years that followed, became one of Scotland’s most successful television dramatists. He created three prime time drama series, presided over two of the highest rated serials in his homeland as script editor and producer, and worked on more than 1,000 episodes of ratings topping drama before deciding to leave television to return to his first love, writing novels.

He has won several literature awards in France, received the USA’s Barry Award for The Blackhouse, the first in his internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy; and in 2014 was awarded ITV Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year award for Entry Island. Peter now lives in South West France with his wife, writer Janice Hally.

One thought on “THE NOBLE PATH By Peter May

  1. I’ve read two of his novels which turned out less than stellar, the main character was a lecherous buffoon and the writing extremely sexist. So no, I don’t think I’ll be trying anything else written by May.

    Liked by 1 person

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