cover image The Last Spy

The Last Spy

John Griffiths. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $19.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-797-0

In 1990, KGB and CIA brass conspire to stage a crisis that will save their jobs by re-creating the paranoia of the Cold War. The plan depends on a group of London-based Ukrainian exiles, the Knights of Vladimir, whose suicidal zeal for a free Ukraine is the pawn in the plot. But just as the CIA doesn't know that one knight, Adam Kalugin, is a KGB double agent, the KGB doesn't know of its double agent's growing ties to one Chance Davenport, a beautiful and fiercely independent operative in a CIA-controlled think tank. As these two overcome the doublethink and doubt essential for espionage but fatal to love, they discover the monumental fraud planned by their separate employers and must act to prevent it. Griffiths's spies are resourceful, able to recast complex scenarios from scraps of information in glib innuendo. Griffiths lets the reader enjoy the thought processes as his ace strategists plot their next move of controlled aggression. Their work is the violence of the mind--a kind of violence, this book reminds us, that may be coming to an end. Still, one hopes that the end of the Cold War does not mean the end of such grandmasterly mental chesswork, but that Griffiths ( The Memory Man and A Loyal and Dedicated Servant ) will continue to craft intelligence novels that, like this one, race with intelligence. (Sept.)