My review of the book Argylle, by Elly Conway is over at Shiny New Books today – you can read it HERE.
I usually catch up with my Shiny links some time after they are published, but I have a little more to say about this book – well, more about the book and the film and the accompanying hype to be specific.
The book is a straight-forward ensemble spy thriller in which a team is put together by the CIA to defeat a very bad Russian indeed. In that team is Agent Aubrey Argylle, and the novel is his story of how he became a spy. He is actually a well-drawn character in the book, orphaned in Thailand when his parents are murdered by a drugs cartel in the Golden Triangle, he gradually transforms chapter by chapter into a thinking man’s action spy. But to bring Vasily Federov down, they need to work as a team, everyone has a role to play. That aspect of the book was rather refreshing. The Argylle pictured here is no James Bond-a-like. It was a fun read, and I’d happily read more if it becomes a series.
The film comes out on Thursday, but from what I’ve seen through the trailers and chatter, it bears little correspondence to the book, other than it features a spy called Argylle and an author called Elly Conway! Only Argylle and his colleague Wyatt appear from the novel, and it is billed as an action comedy, which the book is not; it has comedy but not in the same way. The story revolves around the reclusive author (Bryce Dallas Howard) who gets drawn into the world of espionage when she discovers her spy novels featuring the idealised Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill) are happening in the real world, which isn’t glamorous in comparison, when she meets a real spy on a train (Sam Rockwell). It would appear that the real star is the cat though – Claudia Schiffer’s own Cornish Fold (she’s married to Matthew Vaughn).
Director Matthew Vaughn and his scriptwriter Jason Fuchs sound as if they’ve had fun! Presumably they worked with the author to make her a character in the film? Or did they? The author’s photo is in shadow, and their identity hasn’t been disclosed, provoking many conspiracy theories.
I did enjoy the book, despite the hype, but it wasn’t until after I finished the book that I watched the film trailers and then felt rather tricked by it all. Unless the reviews are brilliant, I think I’ll wait to stream the movie now.
Elly Conway, Argylle (Bantam, 2024). 978-1787635913, 368pp., hardback.
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