The Night Comers by Eric Ambler
London : The Reprint Society, 1957. Hardcover. 218 pages ; 19 cm. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
THE scene is the capital of an island republic in Indonesia, some years after the withdrawal of the Dutch. European technicians and advisers, as in all colonial territories that have gained independ¬ence, are needed by the republic, and Fraser, an engineer, is on leave for an irrigation scheme, for which he is paid a fabulous salary.
During his leave Fraser meets a sensitive Eurasian girl, and a friend lends him a bungalow in which to spend the night with her. It is here that one realizes the point of the title —the lovers' night is interrupted by the arrival of a sinister Sundanese major and some soldiers, who arrest them. There has been a coup d'&at, and rebel forces from the mountains have come down to the city, ousted the government and taken over the public buildings. Fraser and the girl realize they are in danger, and play their game carefully.
The Night-Comers is an excellent story on the level of pure entertain¬ment, and at the end one sees that a very penetrating and knowledgeable picture of political chaos and difficul¬ties of the Indonesian countries has been given.
It is certainly among Eric Ambler's finest work. — Michael Swan in the BROADSHEET
FROM THE AUTHOR
I was trained as an engineer, and A then became an advertisement copywriter. I began to write novels because I wanted to earn my living in a way which would allow me to live in Paris.
There seemed to me to be nothing ridiculous about the assumption that I could earn a living by writing novels. It would be different, I thought, with novels.
Incredibly, it was different. The only theory I have which might explain this oddity is that, in trying for so long to write plays, I had somehow acquired a sense of story construction appropriate to the kind of novel I set out to write. Perhaps it was that sense, too, which later enabled me to enjoy writing films.
However, I find writing very hard work, and I now live gloomily in London and not gaily in Paris.
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