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The Double Game (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) [Kindle Edition]

Dan Fesperman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, spook-turned-novelist Edwin Lemaster revealed to up-and-coming journalist Bill Cage that he’d once considered spying for the enemy. For Cage, a Foreign Service brat who grew up in the very cities where Lemaster’s books were set, the news story created a brief but embarrassing sensation and heralded the beginning of the end of his career in journalism.

More than two decades later, Cage, now a lonely, disillusioned PR man, receives an anonymous note hinting that he should have dug deeper into Lemaster’s pronouncement. Spiked with cryptic references to some of Cage’s favorite spy novels, the note is the first of many literary bread crumbs that lead him back to Vienna, Prague, and Budapest, each instruction drawing him closer to the complex truth, each giving rise to more questions: Why is beautiful Litzi Strauss back in his life after thirty years? How much of his father’s job involved the CIA? As the events of Lemaster’s past eerily—and dangerously—begin intersecting with those of Cage’s own, a “long stalemate of secrecy” may finally be coming to an end.

A story about spies and their secrets, fathers and sons, lovers and fate, duplicity and loyalty, The Double Game ingeniously taps the espionage classics of the Cold War to build a spellbinding maze of intrigue. It is Dan Fesperman’s most audacious, suspenseful, and satisfying novel yet.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: The Double Game begins as a playful spy caper within a spy caper, in which clues to a mystery are found in the pages and plots of old spy novels. OK, clever enough. But the story quickly becomes more refreshingly and unexpectedly mysterious with each turn of the page, and I realized that Fesperman has achieved something remarkable here: He's turned the spy novel on its head while paying homage to the genre, at the same time giving us an unlikely protagonist who discovers that he's lived his entire life in a world “where fact and fiction were virtually indistinguishable.” --Neal Thompson

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the mid-1980s, journalist Bill Cage inadvertently reveals a startling secret about best-selling spy turned novelist Edwin Lemaster. Many years later, Cage—now a former journalist, his own career, like Lemaster’s, never having recovered from that incident—is lured into a web of intrigue by a nameless individual who hints that, with his Lemaster revelation, Cage had only scratched the surface. What’s especially clever here is the way Cage’s anonymous “handler” (for Cage soon thinks of himself as a spy being run by an unknown operator) uses works of spy fiction to communicate—encoded messages rely on Cage’s virtually encyclopedic knowledge of spy fiction, and shadowy characters who wander in and out of the story bear physical resemblance to characters in spy novels (and, of course, Lemaster himself, the focal point of the intrigue, is a hugely popular spy novelist, a sort of American le Carré). At once a celebration of some of the genre’s best authors and a smartly constructed and thoroughly modern spy story, this is a surefire hit and a must for anyone who reveres the espionage masters. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 1426 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00GYPVULI
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 21, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IM0Z80
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,039 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet No-Cal Appetizer for Lovers of Spy Games August 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Double Game" is a new crime novel, a spy thriller from presumably American, Baltimore-based Dan Fesperman. The award-winning author's travels have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. This book is set in Washington, D.C., principally the Georgetown neighborhood; Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and a bit of Plum Island, off the North Fork of New York's Long Island.

This entertaining book can best be described as a spy caper within a spy caper, set more than twenty years after the supposed end of the Cold War. Bill Cage, the protagonist, who narrates first person, is a diplomat's son who grew up all over the place, but apparently mostly in Eastern Europe: Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and Berlin. The book opens with Cage a journalist hoping to be a novelist, in 1984, a few years before the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. He is interviewing American spy turned novelist Edwin Lemaster; the virtues of his work, Cage says, cause the young journalist to consider famed British spy novelist John LeCarre, more the British Lemaster, than longtime CIA stalwart Lemaster, the American LeCarre. Hah! As if, says I.

At any rate, Lemaster, primed with too much alcohol, hints to the young journalist that he'd thought of working for the enemy. Upon publication, the disclosure causes a brief scandal in some -- CIA--- circles, and hastens Bill's departure from the world of journalism. Two decades later, Bill attends the funeral of another old CIA stalwart with his retired diplomat father Warfield. Bill's now a divorced single father whose son David lives with Bill's ex-wife April; he's a lonely, disillusioned, bitter public relations man.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don;t look now, but you are being followed! August 3, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I always wonder how authors get the ideas for their stories. Dan Fesperman's book "The Double Game is no exception. Mr. Fesperman has taken his love of Cold War spy novels and woven his knowledge into yet another tale of an American working his way across Europe to find the truth to a decades old rumor, namely, that a former CIA agent and current best selling novelist was a double agent or mole during the years of his career with the government. The former CIA agent had given Fesperman's "hero", Bill Cage an interview when Cage was at the beginning of his career as a writer. During the interview, the author, Edwin Lemaster, had hinted that, at one point, he had toyed with the idea of becoming a double agent for the Soviet Union The remark was supposed to be off the record. However, Bill includes it. After the article is published, the rumors start flying. As a result, Cage's career as a writer comes to an end. As we meet him, in the present day, he is a PR flack for companies in trouble with the United States Congress. He testifies for them and gets them off the hook, most of the time. Cage is now fifty and divorced. Fate intervenes when Cage joins his father at the funeral of a fellow employee in the government. Cage's father, Warfield Cage, was a career diplomat with the U. S. State Department. The funeral is crowded with retired and senior officials in the CIA, FBI and the State Department who had known the deceased through work. While thinking back through his years with his father, going from Embassy to Embassy, across Europe, Bill realizes how unhappy he is with his life, and he asks for a leave of absence and makes an agreement with "Vanity Fair" to research and write an article about the truth of Edwin Lemaster's hint from thirty years earlier. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's like something you'd read in a novel..." August 15, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
... says one character in this particular spy novel, as protagonist Bill Cage, a middle-aged PR guy in Washington DC, recounts his string of unexpected adventures in central Europe. Indeed -- and that's the delight of this novel, an homage to the great spy thrillers of past decades and a "thumping good read" in its own right, even if it doesn't measure up to the classics like Ambler or LeCarre.

Back in 1984, Cage is an ambitious young journalist who unexpectedly scores an interviews with a reclusive former spy-turned-espionage writer, Edwin Lemaster - and then winkles out of him the admission that during his years at the CIA Lemaster had contemplated becoming a double agent. "For the thrill of it. The challenge," the novelist explains. That confession of sorts becomes a brief sensation, Lemaster becomes still more reclusive (and never grants another interview). Those pages may mark the beginning of this novel, but they are only a preface. The real action starts some 26 years later when Cage -- now a disillusioned former reporter toiling away at his soul-destroying PR job in is pushed into following a trail of clues laid out by a mysterious handler to find evidence that Lemaster really had been a "double."

It's a fantastic narrative journey, in part because Fesperman draws heavily on classic espionage books as clues and that usher Cage on his way at critical junctures in Cage's quest. Eerily, each step he takes seems to take him not only closer to the truth about Lemaster (perhaps...) but also back into his own personal history, as he travels from one to another of the cities that he inhabited at the height of the Cold War, a motherless child whose father was posted to US embassies in Belgrade, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Berlin.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
Good story with lots of plot twists. The various names and code names can be a bit tedious to keep track of.
Published 8 hours ago by Kevin Q
4.0 out of 5 stars It's worth reading
Deserves a 3 1/2 more than a 4.... maybe not quite the Great American Spy Novel but not bad, and it was a pleasant read. I'd recommend it.
Published 11 days ago by Brent Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, well written
Great book, well written. A nice throwback to the Cold War spy novels I read as a teen. The references to those many of those older novels was particularly enjoyable.
Published 2 months ago by Chippenham
3.0 out of 5 stars An amusing conceit but this is no John Le Carré
In the books of John LeCarre, when an ordinary man gets caught in schemes of global espionage, no matter how pure his motives, it ends badly for him. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Neurasthenic
4.0 out of 5 stars A good story.
It was a little hard to follow. I had trouble keeping all the characters separate and the time periods separate.
Published 3 months ago by Alan Norsworthy
2.0 out of 5 stars and it's fun to imagine the spying that would have gone on ...
After really enjoying Unmanned, I decided to give this one a shot. Mistake. The plot is entertaining enough, with the main character bouncing all over Europe, and it's fun to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by SPS
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the concept and the execution of this story
New twist on an old theme. I liked the concept and the execution of this story. Characters were interesting.
Published 4 months ago by Blanche Haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars so terrific
I like spy fiction but now I want to read all 222 novels listed at the end of this book.
Published 4 months ago by DSNYC
4.0 out of 5 stars A few twists and interesting character development kept me reading ...
A few twists and interesting character development kept me reading and guessing to the very end.

I will definitely be reading another of his books.
Published 5 months ago by BELLE LEWIS
2.0 out of 5 stars For fans of espionage novels
If you're a huge fan of the espionage genre you'd probably enjoy this book which has tons of references to previously published spy novels. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Barbara Saffer
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