I first discovered Anthony Price when I was in my early teens. My Gran picked up a well loved copy (at a W.I jumble sale) of his first novel of the David Audley/Colonel Jack Butler series, ‘The Labyrinth Makers.’
It wasn’t until a year ago that I rediscovered Anthony Price. I actually met the man himself, I was unaware at first until he formally introduced himself.
Memories of his first book came flooding back to me once the penny dropped. We chatted for a long while, he was more than happy to chat about his work and writing in general, a very lovely chap indeed. Upon my departure he produced three of his books and signed them for me. Of course I was over the moon! I read them as soon as I could, and was once again fully transported into the dangerous adventures of David Audley and Colonel Jack Butler.
Audley and Butler work for a counter-intelligence unit, that draws comparisons to that of MI5, although they refer to themselves as “Research and Development.” David Audley (an analyst and historian) features in every story although he is not always the main protagonist. David Audley is known for his unorthodox methods, he is a historian and frequently quotes his beloved author; Rudyard Kipling.
David Audley is a character that you immediately warm to, and can’t help but smile at the way he goes about things. He is quite a devious schemer and will do all that he can, not to give to much information away as to what is going on, mostly to his own colleagues. There’s almost this method of keeping his cards close to his chest so he can casually observe his surroundings as to get to the bottom of a particular investigation or circumstance.
The stories contain a lot of twists and turns and there is something about David Audley that one could attribute to guess work. Having said that he has seldom been wrong.
There are obviously some other great characters in the stories Colonel Jack Butler joins Audley on many missions also later on in the series a researcher named Paul Mitchell helps Audley there is also Oliver Latimer who has some contempt for Audley and also Elizabeth Loftus a female investigator.
There are a lot of recurring themes in the stories one being ‘The Debrecen List’ and David Audleys Russian opponent Professor Panin.
Anthony Price ended the series after 19 novels in 1989 with ‘The Memory Trap’ he did write a non-fiction book a year later about Naval Frigates.
Even though his fantastic writing speaks for itself he won a couple of awards; The Silver Dagger award for ‘The Labryinth Makers’ and then with his fifth novel ‘Other Paths To Glory’ he won; The Golden Dagger award. His novels were also made into a six part television series called Chessgame; it starred Terrance Stamp as Dr David. Audley.
I highly recommend the David Audley series. Full of fantastic writing, great plotlines and a plethora of colourful characters. Its a must for your book collection. The stories are fluent and the pace is kept really well, there are a lot of historical references which adds even more intrigue to the story. In conclusion Anthony Price proves that a good espionage story doesn’t have to be Flash Cars/Guns/Gadgets all wrapped up in a suave playboy package to be exciting.