Fry, Stephen. Revenge. Random House, July 2002. c320p. ISBN 0-375-50623-3. $23.95. Fiction.

The victim of a schoolboy prank that goes bad and ultimately involves the British Intelligence Service, Ned Maddstone finds himself imprisoned in a private lunatic asylum, where he is kept in a drugged state for ten years before he is allowed contact with anyone else. For the next decade, he falls under the tutelage of a man known only as Babe, an elderly spy who teaches him the ways of the world and aids his escape, setting him up with near limitless funds. The second half of the novel follows Ned as he wreaks his vengeance on all those involved with his mistaken arrest and imprisonment. This bald description does not do justice to the novel’s brilliant execution, diminished only by a protagonist who is not very likeable and the absence of true conflict as he carries out his revenge. Still, this is a highly intelligent and well-written story by British actor Fry (The Liar, etc.), the author of three previous comic novels and a memoir. Recommended for all public libraries.

LJ, 127, no. 11 (June 15, 2002), 93.

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