Alan Judd, Author . Knopf $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-41484-8

Cold War espionage turns into a twisted family affair in Judd's new novel (after the Guardian fiction prize winner The Devil's Own Work). This intelligent spy thriller, set in the 1970s, begins when fledgling British agent Charles Thoroughgood receives an assignment: he is to persuade his former Oxford classmate, Viktor Koslov, now a liaison at the Soviet Embassy and apparently an undercover operative, to defect. But before he can do it, Koslov stuns him with the revelation that Thoroughgood's late father, an engineer who also had a military career, was working as a KGB agent. Torn between his loyalties to his father and MI6, Thoroughgood refuses the payment that Koslov offers him for his father's years of service and decides to reveal his father's duplicity to his superiors and continue with the Koslov project. As his relationship with Koslov intensifies, Thoroughgood mentions a secret MI5 arms initiative to Koslov, defying his superiors' explicit instructions. Thoroughgood's cagey boss asks him to resign, but convinces him to continue his efforts to turn Koslov. By now, Koslov has aroused the suspicions of the KGB by having an affair with a London prostitute who works for British intelligence. The suspense mounts as the Brits try to save Koslov from the Russians, and the breathless finale reveals a writer with a distinctive flair for the genre. Judd, who had a career in the British Foreign Office, is not yet up with the best of them when it comes to getting inside the head of his young spy, but the portraits are entertaining and credible. This espionage thriller is a standout. (Apr. 14)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4000-3081-1
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-307-42659-8
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-0-00-733030-0
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4711-0105-2
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-84739-773-7
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!