cover image Comrade Charlie: A Charlie Mufflin Novel

Comrade Charlie: A Charlie Mufflin Novel

Brian Freemantle. St. Martin's Press, $22.95 (443pp) ISBN 978-0-312-08166-9

Intricate, funny and highly satisfying, this fast-paced thriller again features veteran British intelligence agent Charlie Muffin, last seen in See Charlie Run . Here he is in operational limbo, dogged by the acting director general Richard Harkness, whose nitpicking rules may be designed to get rid of the freewheeling agent. Charlie's old KGB enemy Berenkov is also gunning for him, using his former lover Natalia (herself a KGB agent) as bait in a trap constructed of threatened Star Wars secrets. The Reds run two traitors--an American industrialist and a British bigamist--while setting up Charlie, who has discovered the operation. Meanwhile, Harkness builds a case to prove that the working-class, foulmouthed Charlie is himself a traitor. But in a series of countermoves (some of which are kept from the reader), Charlie brilliantly confutes all enemies and apparently wins back Natalia in an entrancing, breathtaking denouement. Billed as an historical thriller (in light of the changes in Russia since the book was first published in England in 1989), Charlie's latest escapade should send new readers scurrying to find earlier Charlie Muffin tales. (Nov.)