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by Ed O'Loughlin

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Spying inside the Embargoed Zone is an expensive business, not to say risky, and Agent Cobra wants his wages in full. But his down-at-heel spymaster can only offer payment in kind – and the first thing he finds in an unattended storeroom.

And so both men are sucked into the mysterious Toploader project, a race to retrieve a deadly secret from inside the world’s first – and best – walled-off terrorist entity. Also caught in the crossfire are a resourceful teenage girl, a gung-ho reporter, a hapless drone-pilot and at least one very unfortunate donkey. Toploader is about to make their lives a lot more dangerous, and an awful lot more bizarre.

‘At times, the satire is reminiscent of Joseph Heller or Thomas Pynchon in the way it embraces the sheer stupidity of the situations it describes, but unlike those authors, O’Loughlin adds eloquent and thoughtful political discussions, which do not disrupt his fast-paced narrative’ Simon Creer, Times Literary Supplement.

‘O’Loughlin spares time for striking imagery and some rather beautiful writing’ Toby Clements, Seven magazine, Sunday Telegraph.

‘O’Loughlin’s cool, distanced gaze holds our assumptions about terror and security up to a queasy, uncomfortable light with an extraordinary and unsettling calm’ John Burnside, The Guardian.

‘O’Loughlin is impressive in his description of the imposition of military might and its human consequences’ David Park, Irish Times.

‘Cynical, funny, harrowing and revelatory, Toploader is one of the most inventive Irish novels of recent times’ Declan Blake, Sunday Business Post.

‘a darkly comic satire on contemporary imperialism’ Irish Independent.

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