I was hooked from the first few paragraphs. Doyle's musings on the nature of his relationship with Bodie which beautifully set up the anguish to come....
przed managed to give us a very sympathetic view of Cowley; a principled man who nevertheless has a very difficult job to do, and has to make some very hard decisions. He may not LIKE them, but he makes them, for Queen and country. She gave us a glimpse of what Cowley goes through every time he deliberately endangers one of his men. It's nice to see he has more than just ice water (and a very good scotch!) running through his veins.
And Bodie! - what he was asked to do, and yet he went without a murmur, even knowing that it could in all likelihood cost him his life, if not very possibly his relationship with Doyle. The turmoil of Bodie's emotions was very well-done; in particular I was struck by the scene where he is throwing up in Mo's garden, after the ambush. He is then wondering whether Doyle could ever forgive him; I was wondering the same thing so the emotion of the scene really came across. And Bodie's disgust and self-loathing was apparent all the way through after shooting the soldiers.
The one dissonant note for me was in the names of Bodie's cousins. I kept expecting them to start singing "Wonderwall"... *g*. Only a small thing, though, and easily moved past as the story sucked me in further.
I liked the portrayal of Murphy; solid, dependable, unflappable Murphy who weathered the worst of Doyle's storms, while giving him an anchor to hold onto; who completely accepted Doyle's relationship with Bodie, who backed Doyle against all comers and aided and abetted him in his search for Bodie. And I love the fact that the women sussed out the relationship between Doyle and Bodie! Yay for smart women who can read the clues.
By the time Bodie was bringing the van back to England I was feeling physically sick; my heart was thumping and my stomach churning as I waited to see how it would play out. I was desperately hoping for a happy ending, but well aware that I'm not entitled to such! And who knew which way it would go... I think I held my breath for most of that section, until CI5 had gathered to the fray. And even then a happy ending wasn't guaranteed, as Doyle fled the scene once Bodie was safe. I liked Bodie's observation that Doyle had to run, it's the way he dealt with things.
The epilogue was fitting. There is no way that Bodie could have expected absolution from Maureen, but at least he - and we - got some closure from his visit. It was good to know that she was going to be all right; that she had plans for her future which didn't include staying in Ireland. Mo was a character I really felt for and I was glad to find out what was happening with her.
I'm sure there's a lot more I could say, and no doubt will think of it once I've hit "Post". I liked przed's MfU stuff so I expected to like Exile; what I didn't expect was that Exile would end up firmly in my "Re-read - Soon!" pile.