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Bomb Grade Hardcover – March, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

British intelligence agent Charlie Muffin might have a silly name, but don't be fooled--he's one smart, tough cookie. Sent to Moscow to advise the government on the theft of nuclear material, he finds a combination of organized crime and bureaucratic stupidity that adds up to lethal anarchy. Heading the Russian anti- corruption unit is the mother of Muffin's 5-year-old daughter, which complicates his life when he goes undercover as an arms buyer and tries to stop the delivery of 250 kilos of plutonium to the Iraqis. Freemantle's last Muffin is No Time for Heroes.

From Booklist

The cold war is over, and Britain's spy agencies are being dismantled. Agent Charlie Muffin expects to be fired any day, so he's flabbergasted when the director-general gives him a plum assignment in Moscow: to help the Russian government curb the illegal smuggling of uranium from Russian nuclear silos. Charlie's delighted with the opportunity to revisit his beloved Moscow and possibly see Natalia, the Soviet agent he loved and then lost in a spy game gone wrong. Once in Russia, Charlie learns he's the father of Natalia's child, but Natalia is engaged to a KGB comrade. Charlie comes up with a devious plan to curb the uranium smuggling, a plan that nearly costs him his life, puts Natalia in jeopardy, and results in a shocking climax that is breathtaking and bittersweet. Once again, Freemantle's bumblingly brilliant Charlie Muffin, who's at once endearing and dangerous, wins the day. And once again, Freemantle confirms his place as one of the masters of the genre. Thumbs-up for his latest--it's everything an espionage thriller should be. Emily Melton
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st U.S. ed edition (March 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312145659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312145651
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,937,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Freemantle [b. 1936] is one of Britain's most acclaimed authors of spy fiction. His novels have sold over ten million copies worldwide. Born in Southampton, Freemantle entered his career as a journalist, and began writing espionage thrillers in the late 1960s. Charlie M (1977) introduced the world to Charlie Muffin and won Freemantle international recognition--he would go on to publish fourteen titles in the series.

Freemantle has written dozens of other novels, including two featuring Sebastian Holmes, an illegitimate son of Sherlock Holmes, and the Cowley and Danilov series, about an American FBI agent and a Russian militia detective who work together to comabt organized crime in the post-Cold War world. Freemantle lives and works in London, Englad.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Katz on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love all the Charlie Muffin books as well-written escapist spy stories, often with a who-done-it bend. This one, the first in a post cold war setting, brings Charlie back, in a policeman's role, resident in Moscow. His mission is to stop nuclear material leaking out of the post-Soviet shambles to less responsible nations. Will he manage? A great book, full of surprises. A must read for Charlie veterans. A good read for novices.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1997
Format: Hardcover
With the Cold War over, British agent Charlie Muffin, a wild card whose
expertise is field work, expects to be fired from the service as a cost
cutting measure. To his shock, he is instead sent to Moscow to work for the
Russians in a futile attempt to protect the nuclear stockpile from criminals,
which has been a cash crop export for years for the Russian Mafia and some
members of the government. Upon reaching Moscow, Charlie immediately feels
he is living in the roaring twenties in Chicago. The Russian Mafia rule over
everything, though there is some dangerous in-fighting among the mob.
...... Charlie's beloved Natalia, a former Communist spy, is also working to
clean up corruption within the government. However, before Charlie can
pursue any relationship with Natalia, a gang boss steals 250 kilos of
weapons-grade plutonium, fifty times greater than the atomic bombs dropped
over Japan in World War II. Charlie risks his life by going undercover as an
arms dealer in an attempt to recover the stolen nuclear material before it
leaves the country for Iraq.
..... BOMB GRADE is one of the best Post Cold War espionage novels released in
quite a while. The story line is as fast as Superman's top speed and Moscow
comes alive as if the reader is actually there. Charlie is a great character
and this novel brings in much of a personal nature, making him seem even more
human and less Bondish. Readers who enjoy modern day espionage novels, need
to read all of Brian Freemantle's works because no one does the genre with so
much justice.

.......Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ken C. on January 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Several of the Charlie Muffin novels have received five star ratings from me, and I enjoyed Bomb Grade quite a bit as well. But i deducted a star as I thought the plotting was occasionally too convoluted and the reader left confused. Part of that is the style of Mr. Freemantle's writing, which begins a paragraph or chapter without telling us how things got to that point. Of course, in the unraveling we find out, but it is temporarily a jolt. Even so, I heartily recommend the book, as I do the series.
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By Richard F. Gibbons, Jr. on December 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Bomb Grade is a heart-stopping, must read for any espionage enthusiast. Brian Freemantle’s choice of diction and syntax brings the plot to life. Every conversation is a game of chess or football; every move has to count. Charlie Muffin is the lead character, and although his name sounds silly, he is smart, tough and cunning. Every character in the book is so interesting and complex that they seem to have come from real life. Charlie Muffin goes undercover as a Russian gangster who has to deal with the head of Russia’s anti- corruption unit--the mother to his five year old daughter. How Charlie Muffin stayed under cover is almost the same as what a real spy would do in his situation. So not only is the book interesting, it is also fairly accurate as to what a real spy’s life would be. All of this is taking place after the cold war, in the moral decay of Russia where the police have very little power and the economy is in shambles. The Russians are planning to steal 250 kilograms of plutonium and sell it to the Iraqis, and Charlie Muffin has to stop them. In Bomb Grade, Brian Freemantle found the perfect formula for maintaining tensions between Russia and the United States. Like most of Brian Freemantle’s books, the plot moves as fast as the flash and it absolutely cannot get much better than this book. Bomb Grade is definitely up there with Ian Fleming’s James Bond books and M.H. Sargent’s Seven Days from Sunday.
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