British author Seymour returns, with mixed results, to the conflict between the Irish Republican Army and Great Britain that catalyzed his first novel, Harry’s Game (1975). In the present day, tensions in Northern Ireland are on the rise. Two Russian agents, who are working from the Czech Republic, are happy to sell weapons to patient, simmering IRA terrorist Malachy Riordan through middleman Ralph Exton, a small-time smuggler who desperately needs money. Exton is afraid of his Russian clients and of the MI5 agents who have made him a reluctant double agent. Seymour excels at creating characters with deep backstories: Riordan, the not-posh MI5 agent Gaby Davies, an unusually honest copy in Prague named Karol Pilar, and, best of all, the legendary double agent brought out of retirement to handle Exton, Danny Curnow (code name Vagabond). He also does a fine job of capturing the enduring hostility on both sides, but a slow-moving, hard-to-fathom plot makes this a slog. Agent: Jonathan Lloyd, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/23/2015 Release date: 01/05/2016 Genre: Fiction
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