Spy Novels

Two more of Robert Littell's vintage spy novels are back in print. Set soon after the Cuban missile crisis, Littell's 1986 novel The Sisters has CIA operatives Francis and Carroll (affectionately known to their colleagues as "the sisters of Night and Death") manipulating the KGB's smartest agents as if they're so many puppets. They get "the Potter," former head of the KGB's sleeper agent school, to betray his best protégé, "the Sleeper," sending the Potter on a cross-continent trek to rescue his student with the help of the Sleeper's ex-lover, a mortuary hair stylist. In The Once and Future Spy, originally published in 1990, the CIA plans to discredit the Ayatollah Khomeini in the early 1980s by blowing up the University of Tehran. The mission is threatened when a rogue operative, a proto-computer hacker obsessed with the Revolutionary War traitor Nathan Hale, gets wind of it. These will come as a boon to Littell's fans. (Overlook Press, $24.95 312p ISBN 1-58567-418-4, June; 294p -388-9, Apr.)