The Sixth Pillar

The Sixth PillarAuthor: Alan Reynolds
ISBN 978-1-906377-95-3

There is nothing as tragic as man’s inhumanity to man; what triggers such hatred that some are prepared to give up their own existence to destroy another’s way of life?

In his latest action-packed thriller Alan Reynolds explores the conditioning of the jihadists as we follow a young Iraqi, Tariq and his quest for revenge and martyrdom. We also learn about the SAS soldier who has to live with the consequences of war and his own demons of conflict. He attains an odd solace in the isolation of working on a North Sea Oil Rig but these two worlds collide with explosive results.

“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”


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What others said…

If you love an intriguing plot, this book is for you…
– Lynn Newhart

Can’t wait for the next!…
Loved it, such easy reading with a gripping story line, this is yet another book from Alan Reynolds that has enthralled me!
– Chris Wren

The Sixth Pillar is such a brave book… With an almost cold emotional detachment it investigates how suicide bombers might come to choose their fatal path and what the damages of war can be – both on a personal front and on an international basis.

Tariq has never known anything but war, devastation and corruption. After losing his family during a British SAS mission in Iraq he is then brought up by a Muslim cleric, grieving for the loss of his own two sons. Tariq grows up with two passions: his religion and engineering, which though safe enough in the right hands, prove to be a dangerous combination. His adopted father leads him down the path of martyrdom without quite realising what he is setting in motion.

Terrorist attacks are something that many of us will find entirely unthinkable and horrifying. Yet in this novel, Reynolds gives enough insight and impetus to show how someone could perhaps choose that route. Not that he condones it; Tariq is still a hard character to like, though you may sympathise at times, he never seems to develop any emotional depth beyond hatred. British soldier Rory Calderwood, whose story we also follow, isn’t a great deal warmer. Indeed, his inability to get over his actions in the war may go some way to explaining the horrors responsible for creating mindsets like Tariq’s.

This isn’t a cosy novel to read but what you learn is definitely worth the discomfort it may give you.
Nikki Mason  

a courageous book, although the author tells a story without grinding axes…
The main points of view are two: – one is that of a former Special Forces battalion leader who has fought in the Iraq War and carries the scars in his mind and his heart in his later work on an offshore oil rig. Rory tries to form meaningful relationships, and for a while succeeds, but his war experience has taken its toll and he’s not an easy companion for a woman. – the other viewpoint is that of Tariq, whose history is connected with Rory in a way that neither of them knows.

Tariq is an Iraqi orphan, for whom the war was much more devastating, and his later childhood and growing up in Basra sets him on the road to an extreme act. I feel that Alan Reynolds has managed to portray Tariq in a way that doesn’t bring us to sympathize, exactly, but to understand his feelings, his bewilderment on arrival in Britain, his difficulty in accepting different behaviours from what he has been used to. This is a story, an adventure, but Alan Reynolds has courageously taken on tough themes – war, terrorism, religious differences, racism – and their effect on these two persons and others. I feel he did this in a sensitive way, with a good objectivity and knowledge of what he’s writing about.
– Valeria Salvemini

I look forward to reading more of Mr. Reynolds fine work…
Author Alan Reynolds propels the reader deep inside the world of Islamic jihad conditioning and culture in this wonderful novel about war and its long-term social consequences. Reynolds literary prose and timing are impeccable as he takes you from the deserts of southern Iraq to an oil platform off the coast of Britain. What makes a young person (Tariq) become so enamoured in sacred ideals that he is eager to commit suicide if given the opportunity to strike a blow against what his religious faction deems a Great Evil? Reynolds answers this most-often-asked question of our times and many more in this superb suspense novel. It is my customary habit to read one chapter a night from my bedside table before sleeping. The Sixth Pillar lengthened my reading time to four or more chapters per night before I finished… always a good sign. The ending was much more than satisfactory but still left enough mystery that I believe a sequel could be in the works? ‘
– Randall R Peterson

…captivating read from the first chapter…
A thriller that draws you into the Muslim ways and how different factions of that faith interpret the Koran and how the jihad martyrs justify the killing of innocent people. The author gives you an insight into what it must have been like during the war in Iraq and also the war on terrorists in our own communities at home. I found the book to be a thought provoking read and as with his other books I didn’t want to put it down.
– Sarah K