Book Club Discussion Guides

Woman reading a book and looking thoughtful

Looking around for ideas for these discussion guides, I came across this quote describing the ideal book club book: “something meaty to discuss: a thorny social issue, a divisive main character, a complicated motivation. Our best conversations have been about the books that leave room for readers to disagree.” (from

My main inspiration for the Clarke and Fairchild books are political situations in different parts of the world where there is more than one side to the argument. I aim in all of these books to create rounded characters which are believable and may be right about some things and wrong about others. The characters also interact with each other in ways which I wouldn’t always have predicted myself (yes, really) and generally go on a journey throughout the book. So if you’re looking for a good quality thriller that your fellow readers will enjoy reading but also find plenty of interest to discuss, do consider the Clarke and Fairchild series.

Below are links to discussion guides for the first five in the series. In terms of where to start, it sounds obvious but I’d always recommend starting with the first one, Reborn. This has as its setting the tense political relationship between China and Tibet, and the character of Jinpa with his unshakeable faith is unusual in a spy thriller. It’s also where John Fairchild and Rose Clarke first meet, and by the end of the book they have very much changed their minds about each other. There’s a variety of settings as well, from Hong Kong to the Himalayan plateau. Plenty to get your teeth into! After finishing Book Five, I went back and re-edited Book One, applying all my learning about writing to this first volume, and the result is a terser and more impactful writing style that’s every bit as strong as how I’m writing now.

As for the rest of the series, to my mind the books that would stand the most discussion would be Books One, Two, Three and Five. One, Two and Five are the most political in terms of subject matter. Five contains themes that are bang up to date, though the others are still current. Four and Six I would say are more about the story and less about the location and the politics. But take a look – and get back to me with any feedback on the book, the discussion guide or your discussion itself! I love to hear back from avid readers.

Here are the links, in order: