From Publishers Weekly
Set in East Germany during the bleak, waning days of 1989, this stand-alone thriller from British author Porter (A Spy's Life
) combines impeccable research with compelling characters caught up in the broad sweep of fascinating historical events. The Stasi want art scholar Dr. Rudi Rosenharte to take part in a dangerous mission involving a former lover Rudi knows is dead, but who the Stasi thinks is not only alive but also harboring vital state secrets. Rudi has little choice, since the Stasi are holding Rudi's brother, Konrad, and his family hostage. Rudi, an ex-Stasi agent himself, clandestinely enlists the aid of the British SIS, the CIA and even the KGB as he pits all of these agencies against one another in an effort to smuggle Konrad and family across the border to the safety of the West. Readers will know that in a few weeks the Wall will be torn down, but at the time, as Porter makes clear, this was not a foregone conclusion, and death and disaster, as in Tiananmen Square, was a real possibility. It's easy to see why this riveting read won the CWA's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. (Apr.)
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Strangers meet under the guise of old lovers in the streets of Trieste, while enemies watch from the shadows, and a mysterious Pole utters a garbled name as he plunges into the harbor, dead. Ah, the paranoiac embrace of espionage! Porter pushes all the right buttons in this solid spy novel set in the months before German reunification. Art historian and aging roue Rudi Rosenharte becomes a pawn in an unpredictable endgame between the increasingly desperate Stasi, who hold his twin brother hostage, and Western intelligence agencies seeking to uncover Islamic terrorist cells harbored by East Germany. Hindsight tells us that momentous changes are in the offing, but will the fall of the Wall save our hero, or crush him? Although a mite overstuffed, the novel's engrossing plot, convincing tradecraft, and vivid depiction of a ruthless totalitarian regime losing its stranglehold all place Porter (A Spy's Life
, 2001) in company with Gerald Seymour, Robert Littell, and other top-notch writers who are proving that the golden age of spy fiction isn't over yet. David WrightCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved