Friday, 4 November 2011

The Accidental Activist - Alon Shalev (Review & Giveaway)



I have taken part in a blog tour this month that is being hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for "The Accidental Activist" by Alon Shalev. My post on this tour includes a review and giveaway but I hope you all visit some of the other sites in the tour for further guest posts, intereviews, reviews and giveaways.

Review

Title: The Accidental Activist
Author: Alon Shalev
Genre: Legal Thriller
Published: 2010
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Apple iBookstore US
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon UK
Apple iBookstore UK

The Accidental Activist by Alon Shalev is a novel that has been based on the so called "McLibel" case that took place in England in the 1990's. I was looking forward to reading this as I love legal TV dramas and I was hoping that a novel could interest and entertain me just as well. On the whole I have to say that this book did manage this; of course as it is based in part on reality and is set in England there is less flamboyance during the courtroom scenes compared with what may see on the fictional TV shows. However the story was still enjoyable and overall the book is a really good courtroom drama.

The story itself follows two activists who decide to take on a multinational corporation after it tries to silence them with threats of libel. Meanwhile a computer programmer who is the narrator of the story discovers the possibilities of the internet and sets up a website to help support the case as he has become involved in a relationship with one of the activists. The book takes us through the work done via the internet and various volunteers to collect information and create a strategy, before taking the reader through the actual court case itself and the results.

I found the actual legal case and courtroom drama to be thoroughly engrossing and it held my attention very well. The story flows well and I appreciated the manner in which the author had written it with the narrator varying between telling us factual information on the case and legal system in England before then detailing the various amusing and dynamic interactions between the characters. I felt that this ensured that you actually care for the characters and will them on to win in addition to understanding some of the intricacies of the court case itself.

As with any underdog story, it was quite inspirational to read about regular people fighting a huge corporation on something they felt was right. In addition it was superb to read about and remember the rise of the internet in the 1990's. The way the characters use the internet to help level the playing field between the individuals and the corporate machine was nice to see. It could make the story seem dated because we are now so used to the internet, but as long as the reader understands when the story has been set it shouldn't really cause an issue.

An issue I did have with the book is a possibly more a personal one and it is something I have seen many times that isn't limited to this book. Basically, there were several statements throughout the book referring to British law and specifically British Libel law. There is actually no such thing as British law; there is English law and Scots law which are independent of each other. I am not a law expert so perhaps both English and Scots law may be similar in the case of libel (although I have read that Scots law doesn't even differentiate between libel and slander), however it is factually incorrect to call something British law. It doesn't really affect the story in any way; it was just a minor irritation to me.

Overall, I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable story that should appeal to anyone interested in courtroom dramas and underdog stories. The whole story ignited my interest in the actual case the story was based on and I have enjoyed doing a little reading up on that. Any story that can persuade you to find out a little more about the facts and reality is good in my opinion.

Giveaway

The winner of this giveaway will recieve either an Ebook or Paperback copy of The Accidental Activist based on the following:

If the winner is from the U.S. or Canada, they will have the choice of paperback or ebook.
If the winner is International, they will receive the ebook.

Rules:

The giveaway will finish at 23.59 GMT November 18.

Winners will be picked by random.org and announced on November 19 by email & on this blog.

All entrants just need to leave a comment with their name and email address.

Good luck!

Learn more about The Accidental Activist at…
Goodreads | Author Website

Next stop on the blog tour: Bound & Determined to Find a Good Read