David Wolstencroft, Author . Dutton $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-94794-3

Wolstencroft takes a spy novel convention—the wrongly accused agent on the run from his own agency—and gives it a clever twist in this quirky, literate book: two British spies, each ordered to kill the other, go on the run together. Charlie Millar and George Shaw work in a tiny, two-man photo-developing station—but unbeknownst to the other, both work for the Secret Service. After George and Charlie save each other from being killed, though, the two cop to their real jobs, and shortly thereafter, each receives orders to kill the other. Thinking this must be another mistake, they attempt to straighten it out with their bosses and just miss getting blown up by a missile-firing motorcyclist. They flee London and, after many close escapes and twists and turns of the plot, eventually end up in Canada. Back at the Secret Service home office, upper-level manager Rose Willets and the mysterious agent Latham are involved in a secret mission called the Project, which relates to the Charlie and George imbroglio. Wolstencroft leaves his final pages open-ended, but readers will be so enthralled with his intelligence and breezy, amusing style they'll hardly notice a few minor ragged edges and inconsistencies. Agent, Jane Gelfman. (Sept.)

FYI: Wolstencroft is the award-winning creator of the British TV spy series Spooks, known to American A&E viewers as MI-5.

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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