A Dying Breed

  • by Peter Hanington
  • Narrated by Jonathan Keeble
  • 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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

Politically incorrect, historically simplistic.


“In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

A book about a country that is 99.8% islamic and has grown some of the most violent islamist groups, was involved and is involved on the global islamist struggle, but without a single mention of Islam, has to be a kind of achievement. The taliban is but a mention, a book that mentions every invasion but the most significant one in the seventh century the Rashidun Caliphate Arabs that propagated the islamic religion that rules the afghanistan today. This book has all the marks of BBC approved tale where were the words islam or islamist are taboo if not a complete crime thought.

Let's start with the character in this book all the english or western men are morally weak if not totally devoid of morality, militaristic buffoons, drug dependant if not addicted or devoid of humanity, the only westerners with some redemption are two old reporter that drink too much and are ready to commit suicide, for their past sins. On the other hand the afghan men are loyal, wise, good nature, peace loving warriors forced into conflict by evil westerners. The western women fair a little better because they are powerless hores, frigid wifes, or devout girlfriends, now the afghan women span the spectrum from beautiful to handsome, loyal, good cooks, even creators of beautiful english gardens, or managers of businesses; no mention is made of the inequities between the sexes in this society, if anything this women are as free western women. The worst character of the afghanistan men is the general he sells heroin by the tons to the decadent west but justifiably so. He loved his wife and some taliban men not connected to the larger organisation raped and killed her, we know this because he tells a westerner he castrated them and burned them alive but they never gave up the larger org, and so the taliban is not guilty; but even this brutal crime is justified by his love of a woman that was beautiful and saintly good, and the drug trafficking is justified because it is good business and it creates jobs among the poor peasants; no mention is made of the practice of warlords to enslave peasants or their children to produce the opiate or the larger problem it brings to the entire region.

This is a world where the west is inherently evil and the other people are good; no intelligent discussions of politics can be had because the reason for the west presence are presented without a realistic history background or geopolitical realities and complex motivations that exist in the region, this is because of the Voldemort rule (never mention islam or islamist) that eliminates the possibility of creating a complex rich story, where people not caricatures can develop.

The only reason I have given this review the length it has is because it is being reviewed as a good book, when in reality it is entertaining propaganda that in some cases I felt was verging on racist. I say this without being a member of any of the ethnic groups in the book, but based on the world I inhabit and the history I have witnessed and the one we share in books with all its imperfections. This is not a fair representation or a realistic representation of our world but a skewed Regressive Left point of view.

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell
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- Wras "Kildonan by the sea"

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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- Simon "A man with a child in his ears - @ShutterSpin."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-04-2016
  • Publisher: Two Roads