A debut novel in the vein of Greene and le Carré, A Dying Breed is a brilliant and gripping story of the politics of news reporting, intrigue and blood set between the dark halls of Whitehall, the shadowy corridors of the BBC and the perilous streets of Kabul, in the shadowy le Carré-esque world of foreign correspondents reporting from war zones around the world.
Carver, an old BBC hack, is warned off a story when a bomb goes off, killing a local official in Kabul, but his instincts tell him something isn't quite right, and he won't give up until he finds the truth. A junior producer sent out from London to control him is kidnapped, and as the story unravels it looks like there's collusion between the local consul, Whitehall and someone in the BBC to ensure the real story never sees the light of day.
©2016 Peter Hanington (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton
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Critic reviews

"A tremendous novel - shot-through with great authenticity and insider knowledge - wholly compelling and shrewdly wise." (William Boyd)
" A Dying Breed is a deeply insightful, humane, funny and furious novel. This is both a timely reflection on how Britain does business and a belting good read." (A. L. Kennedy)
"A compelling read, and a great insider's view of life in broadcast journalism. I'm disappointed I am not to feature in the book: it is a brilliant read." (Evan Davis)
"Buy this book. Find a quiet place. Switch off your phone and devour it. Hanington's ability to wrap a story around the ghosts of truth is superb. He spins his tale with a true writer's gift. I loved every minute in this book's company." (Fi Glover, BBC Radio 4 presenter)
"Peter is that rare commodity in the journalistic fraternity...a natural storyteller. You really want to turn the pages. And that's what matters." (John Humphrys)
"A deeply intelligent, beautifully constructed story." (Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor)
"All journalists seem to think they can write great novels about journalism and 99% of those who try make a hash of it. Hanington is in the 1%. Having created believable characters caught up in the hell that is Afghanistan, he weaves a story that manages to excite, appall and instruct in equal measure. And it reveals one of the trade's most important differences: the chasm that exists between horizontal journalism and vertical journalism." (Roy Greenslade, Guardian and Evening Standard columnist and commentator)
" A Dying Breed is a gripping, fast-moving tale of shifting loyalties and creeping betrayal.... Hanington connects the inner-workings and skullduggery of the BBC's London headquarters to the quiet, menacing stillness of the deserts of Central Asia, where the story turns dramatically and violently in a heartbeat and builds to its tempestuous, thrilling conclusion.... A page turner from the first line - and full of insights, some chilling, some hilariously well-observed - into the murky worlds of the war on terror, the secret intelligence services, and the mainstream British news media." (Allan Little, former BBC foreign correspondent and chair of the Edinburgh International Book Festival)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Diana Brighouse on 04-05-17

highly recommended

Excellent narrative, well written with great pace. The narrator's is spot on - the book encouraged me to walk 25k!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 10-04-16

Colour Me Authentic

An excellent debut from Peter Hanington. This is a book of gritty realism pitching characters who are built carefully into strong personalities without being imbued with unrealistic talents or capabilities. The main protagonist William Carver is as cynical an old hack as you can imagine. A man who knows the ropes, a solid journalist but with his significant weaknesses too, especially when he's had a few and women are involved! The other characters are likewise built into well-rounded individuals with conflicting motivations and often not quite enough talent to achieve all they would want to. Hanington avoids the usual clichés of having clever young thing trying to outwit older character and vice versa in a joint smugness contest. We've all read far too many of those!

The story is not a sentimental one. It's about how money and politics dominate foreign policy and the behaviour of those in power. However, it's told with what I felt was a genuine and warm affinity to the region and its troubles. I am certainly no expert but throughout the book seemed to ooze authenticity whether it was scenes within the hallowed halls of British institutions like the BBC or the shadowy underworld of Kabul. I particularly enjoyed Baba and his fountain!

The narration by Jonathan Keeble captures the essence of the book with real aplomb. His William Carver is as perfect as I could imagine and he carries the tension and excitement expertly to the book's very satisfying conclusion. His down to earth delivery re-enforces the realism of the characters Hanington has crafted for this story.

This is one of those rare books. It promised a lot and it delivered what it promised. If the description of the story from the publisher appeals to you then I have high confidence you'll enjoy this one.

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16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Julie on 04-06-16

A gripping story, I just could not put it away.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book because it portrays the middle east as a complicated area with cultural and economic aspects that perhaps we westerners are not capable of understanding. We seem arrogant when we try to manage or make what we call improvement to Afghanistan when we have little in common historically,culturally and spiritually.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Dying Breed?

The Afghanistan Warlord,has a story and a point of view that is understandable, that while it
doesn't make him a sympathetic person or justify his activities, I could see that he too has a
humanity. For example the Warlord was concerned about a young relative that he was helping. When the young man was killed, the Warlord wanted to know how and by whom.

The Americans and English thought that the Warlord had economic issues the Warlord was
trying to advance. The Americans and the English and the Warlord were working at cross purposes.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have heard his name before, but I can't remember anything of his that I have listened to
before. He is excellent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I had a very difficult tine, setting this book aside,so I get ready for work, sleep or other duties. I still finished it in 2 days.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Paula on 22-01-17

A Good Romp with Journalists in Afghanistan. . .

If you like to follow journalists (real or fictionalized) on their adventures around the world, you will enjoy this book. It is set for the most part in Afghanistan and London -- places where journalists ply their trade as troop-embedded witnesses to the longest war in history; and where their bosses make decisions about what makes news while embedded behind ornate desks in big offices. This book has a great deal of horrific brutality in its story; and also provides a glimpse of the lonely life that must be that of journalists sent to cover conflicts in other nations. Lots of alcohol, lots of competition, lots of missed opportunities for relationships, families and ethical purpose.

In all, the characters were very well done and the narration terrific. A good story!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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