'The Man Who Was Thursday' - Book Review

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
by G. K. Chesterton

The predecessor to John Fowles' novel The Magus (1965) and David Fincher's movie "The Game" (1997) - all three share the concept that someone is leading our protagonist, and in fact he (the protagonist is male in all three) has no grip whatsoever on what's going on. While I tend to think I like that idea, I'm not a fan of either of the other two - although I'd argue it's execution rather than concept that put me off, and I do love Fincher's "Fight Club" which certainly has a lot in common with these.

Gabriel Syme is recruited to Scotland Yard, to a secret anti-anarchist police corps. He's a poet and good with words, and with remarkable speed manages to insinuate himself into a local anarchist group (while feeling himself bound by an oath that got him in to tell no one). He is soon elected as "Thursday," the local chapter head, and goes off to meet the other chapter heads (all named after days of the week). Sunday is the leader, and by far the most alarming.

I found the prose lovely and beautifully constructed, but the characters unbelievable - and the action even less so. It was difficult for me to believe that his characters would have done what they did. And as improbability piled on improbability, the sequence of events eventually became entirely impossible to believe. Lovely writing is great, but I need a plot and characters I can believe in for it to be worthwhile ...