A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away

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A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away
Abigboydiditandranaway.jpg
1st edition
Author Christopher Brookmyre
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Satire, Crime, Detective, black humour
Published 2001 (Little Brown, London)
Media type Print (Hardback & (Paperback)
ISBN 0-316-85743-2
OCLC 47194021
LC Class PR6052.R58158 B54 2001
Preceded by Boiling a Frog
Followed by The Sacred Art of Stealing

A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away (2001) is Christopher Brookmyre's sixth novel. It features the first appearance of policewoman Angelique de Xavia, who is one of the main characters in The Sacred Art of Stealing (2002).

Plot summary[edit]

Anti-terrorist forces are put on alert when it is learned that the notorious international terrorist the Black Spirit plans to perform an attack on an unknown British target.

Meanwhile, 30-something Raymond Ash is struggling to cope with the banality of his new life as an English teacher, having sold his video game shop and decided to settle down with his wife and new baby. While visiting Glasgow airport he sees his old friend Simon Darcourt who supposedly died when terrorists blew up an airliner a few years before. He has no idea that Darcourt is in reality the Black Spirit. Darcourt for his part sees Raymond and decides to settle an old score with him by incorporating him into his terrorist plot.

Raymond ends up being abducted by Darcourt's terrorists and escaping, then finds himself aiding policewoman Angelique de Xavia in a valiant attempt to foil their plot, the two being the only people with a chance of reaching the site of the attack in time - the hydroelectric plant at Dubh Ardrain.

Characters[edit]

Angelique de Xavia
Police officer, who also turns up in a couple of Brookmyre's other novels, The Sacred Art of Stealing and A Snowball in Hell (2008).
Simon Darcourt
International terrorist-for-hire, who also returns in A Snowball in Hell (2008).

Homages[edit]

Literary[edit]

The name "Simon Darcourt" is borrowed from Robertson Davies' novel The Rebel Angels (as is the name of the journalist hero of his Parlabane novels).

Video games[edit]

Brookmyre makes many references to various video games in the novel.

  • Half-Life references:
    • One of the antagonists takes the alias of "Gordon Freeman", the main character of Half-Life.
    • At one point the male protagonist is equipped with a crowbar, Gordon Freeman's trademark equipment in Half-Life.
    • The main action takes place in the largely underground hydroelectric power station "Dubh Ardrain", a Scots Gaelic name which can be approximately translated as "Black Mesa" (dubh - black,[1] ardrain - high part[2]), which is the setting of Half-Life.
    • An SAS soldier called "Adrian Shephard" is a minor character. Adrian Shephard is the protagonist of the Half-Life expansion Opposing Force.
  • Quake references:
    • One character is called Shaloub "Shub" N'gurath. This name is very similar to H. P. Lovecraft's Great Old One Shub-Niggurath, who appeared as the final boss of Quake.
  • Sin references:
    • One of the antagonists used to work for Sintek Energy. SiNtek is the name of the large multi-national biotechnology firm in the game.
    • In the game, the company SiNtek is owned by Elexis Sinclaire. One of the characters in the book, referred to as 'Lexy', is revealed to be named Alex Sinclaire.
  • Other video game references:
    • Darcourt's plan to attack Dubh Ardrain is codenamed "Mission Deliver Kindness", which has the same acronym as the game MDK.
    • At the climax, Ash watches his enemy being sucked into a vortex and says "Suck it down", a reference to the advertising for Daikatana, and also a catchphrase of the titular hero in the game Duke Nukem 3D.

Inspiration[edit]

It is worth noting the large amount of similarity between Dubh Ardrain and Cruachan Dam not just in the basic design but also in the geography of the surrounding area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wiktionary definition of 'dubh'
  2. ^ "A Simple Guide to Gaelic". Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-20.