A Time To Die by Tom Wood (Victor the Assassin #6)

A Time To Die is the latest book in Tom Wood‘s Victor The Assassin thriller series. I have read every book as soon as it came out, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read yet another adventure with our beloved antihero.

In this episode Victor is working for SIS and his current job is to take down Milan Rados, an ex-Serbian military leader who is currently hiding in Belgrade. Of course he has to find him first.

His job is complicated, however, by the fact that there is now on open contract on his dead and other hitmen are all just eager to eliminate the competition and get a nice fee while doing it.

His job is not one that most people flock to (afterall what can be more inhuman than kill people for money?), yet we all love Victor, and we all constantly root for him. While he is not one of the ‘good guys’, he does have his own moral compass (albeit a shaky one) which he always adheres to.

Would you want to be on his hit list? Of course not. But would you want him on your side? Every minute of every day.

He is a guy who knows how to survive and never lets his guard down, this way nobody can come at him unexpectedly. I honestly don’t think I could live like this, never relaxing, always watching people coming and going, searching for that one thing that doesn’t match on a person’s clothing, features or gestures that can betray him as an adversary there to kill him. Yet for him all this is second nature because his survival instincts and his training are fully maxed out.

I immensely enjoyed the way the author took us through everything Victor planned and did to fulfill his assignment. From infiltrating the gang’s circles to becoming invaluable to his target, to doing what needs to be done, even if the price to pay can be, at times, too high. Watching him plan the hit from the beginning was as entertaining as watching a really suspenseful movie at the cinema.

The story was action packed and the nail-biting twists were all there, just like in the previous books. There was always something going on – whether Victor was ‘working’, surviving or dealing with unexpected surprises and things that didn’t quite go the way they were supposed to. I guess he has a plan B and a contingency for every step he has to take in this world.

He does have a bit of an arrogant way about him, but I guess when he knows he can outwit pretty much everyone, that air comes naturally to him, just like from royalty. And let’s face it, it makes him even more dangerously charming than he already is. However soon enough in the book you do realize that he has all too human feelings as well. He can feel sympathy, even when he has to act against them, and at the end the way he avenged someone’s death (don’t want to give spoilers here) told countless stories about his character.

If you haven’t read this series yet, I urge you to start reading it from the first book and progress to this latest 6th one, it will be a very rewarding journey.

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  1. Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin series may be the best fiction on the market. Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp, Gabriel Allon, Dewey Andreas, Scot Harvath, John Wells, John Rain, Pike Logan, Courtland Gentry each have their own positives. Each one of them are “good guys”. Victor is not a “good guy”. He is not interested in helping people, saving the world or righting wrongs. He is interested in his own survival. Nothing else. His attention to detail is meticulous, his paranoia complete and his planning skills are unparalleled. Victor doesn’t just kill people. He does so in a way that allows for escape and complete anonymity. If he can’t he doesn’t take the job.

    Many times in his books you believe Victor is close to doing something “good”, to being someone who can be redeemed. You hope for Victor to show his humanity. But don’t get your hopes up. Victor is Victor. He has no conscience, he has no humanity and he has no remorse.

    Tom Wood doesn’t take the “feel good” way out of these books. He stays true, even when you hope for a “happy ending”. Victor will disappoint every time. Why, because it is true to his character, it is true to his nature.

    Victor is the best “anti-hero” in fiction. Period. Enjoy.

    1. I fully agree with you, except he does have a tiny bit of conscience left. The strongest you feel that is his reaction when the girl dies. He could have easily shrugged it off and said: Oh well, casualty of war”. But no, he goes all 100% with fury in and does what we know he did. He didn’t have to do it. But he promised the girl he will get her out and protect her, and he basically failed. So while generally his conscience is dormant and he is all about his own survival, he is not – yet – a monster. He does have some humanity left.

      Also you can see the ‘kindness’ so to speak when he kills some target (the guy on the train). He could have been an ass about it, but he knows it’s a job, and he gives the guy a choice, to go down with dignity, instead of shame. And sometimes, that’s enough.

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