Ostensibly based on fact, this disappointing story traces the Russian-born Jew, Andrei Aarons, through his nearly four decades gathering intelligence for both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. Originally a Soviet agent in Paris in 1930, Aarons is encouraged by his Soviet handler to move to the States in 1938, where he sets up an espionage network from his New York City book store. Increasingly disaffected with the Communist Party and increasingly concerned about the possibility of war between the two superpowers, Aarons meets secretly with Truman, Eisenhower and JFK, serving as their window on to the Kremlin. After a warning from a Soviet friend in Moscow in the mid-1960s, he folds his network and leaves for Israel, coming out after 30 years of retirement for a farewell briefing with Bush on the breakup of the Communist system. Veteran author ( A Time Without Mirrors ) and WW II British Intelligence agent Allbeury has written a surprisingly lackluster book. The details of Aarons's spying is sketchy; the backdrops (except for the brief stint in wartime France) are flat; and the characters, led by the lugubrious protagonist, are uniformly cardboard. Allbeury's New York geography is off (e.g., confusing the old and new Madison Square Gardens), historical details are often wrong (Truman was never in Ike's White House) and the Yanks talk funny (``I shan't ask you''). (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999 Release date: 03/01/1999 Genre: Fiction
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