Young Philby

Robert Littell. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-00516-8
Littell (The Company) offers an episodic, multifaceted look at the making of one of the world’s most notorious double agents, Harold Adrian Russell Philby, better known as “Kim” (after the hero of Kipling’s famous novel). After a prologue set in 1938 Moscow, the novel proper opens in 1933 Vienna, where Philby plans to aid refugees from Nazi Germany, but is really looking “for adventure, a cause to believe in, comradeship, affection, love, sex.” He finds all of them, neatly bound up in Hungarian-born Communist activist Litzi Friedman, who eventually becomes his wife and introduces him to the Communist Party. As “one of the last romantics,” Philby is an easy convert, but the inevitable question is what motivated him to betray his country. Littell provides no easy answers, though in a coda he suggests a tantalizing rationale for Philby’s actions. Readers should be prepared for an overwhelming amount of period detail that robs the narrative of any substantial momentum. Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Ltd. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-2717-1
Audio Product - 978-1-4272-3139-0
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-03756-5
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-7156-4328-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-250-01365-1
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-0-7156-4451-5
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