cover image The Spy Who Longed for Home

The Spy Who Longed for Home

Michael Grundt Spang. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02986-9

Understatement rather than linguistic fireworks enhances the breathtaking moments in this award-winner by Norwegian journalist Spang. In Cowlishaw's excellent translation, readers feel the turmoil rising in Anders Berger after his defection from Norway to Russia. Subjected to grueling inquisitions, Berger fears for his life and wants to return home; even though the KGB holds him a virtual prisoner, he manages a tentative contact with his embassy in Moscow. As the circuitous paths of espionage agents intertwine, attention turns from Berger to those who will decide his fate, and why. Among others are his Soviet lover, psychologist Rita Tsvetkova and, in Oslo, secret agent Peter Nordheim, who had exposed the traitor but becomes involved in his plan to return. Then there is the deep-cover operator, ``Sandersen,'' posing in Norway as a taxi driver while awaiting the Red Army's invasion. This is a topflight thriller, authentically based on alarming intelligence gathering. (June)