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Red Star Falling: A Thriller (Charlie Muffin Thrillers) Hardcover – June 25, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the climax of Red Star Burning (2012), maverick MI5 agent Charlie Muffin was captured by the FSB at the Moscow airport after being shot (by another British agent) while extracting his wife, Natalia, an FSB agent, and his daughter, Sasha, from Russia. Yes, it’s complicated. When it appeared that Charlie and Natalia’s secret marriage was about to be exposed, Charlie put together a plan to bring his family to the West. That part worked, but Charlie now lingers in a Russian prison, where he is being interrogated by the FSB. Meanwhile, much backroom drama ensues in Britain, where rival groups in MI5 and MI6 are struggling for control as Natalia and another Russian defector become pawns in the bureaucratic cat fight. Unlike Red Star Burning, an intelligent but action-packed espionage tale of the old school, this one is almost completely devoid of action, focusing on boardrooms, interrogation sessions, even pillow talk—the venues where real spies most often ply their trade. Your pulse won’t pound, but your mind will be thoroughly engaged in this le Carré-like exploration of how manipulative bureaucrats pose a greater threat to individual lives than the cloak-and-dagger crowd ever did. --Bill Ott

Review

In Freemantle's latest sophisticated spy thriller, the Muffin man remains a compelling figure, even in convalescent mode. (Kirkus Reviews)

The author again wickedly portrays the appalling internecine struggles between MI5 and MI6, yet retains a more sober vantage that the cold war is unending. (Crime Book Beat)
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Product Details

  • Series: Charlie Muffin Thrillers (Book 16)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1St Edition edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250032245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250032249
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,196,152 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Michener on July 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Longtime readers of Brian Freemantle's Charlie Muffin spy thrillers will find all the usual hallmarks of this highly entertaining series in this latest entry: intricate tracking of the rivalries among Charlie's MI5 and MI6 spymasters in London; fresh evidence of Charlie's uncanny ability to anticipate his enemies' moves before they make them; and Freemantle's gift for delivering surprises right up to the last sentence. What they won't find in this perhaps not quite final installment in Charlie's cat-and-mouse game with the Kremlin is much in the way of action. Here, the fun come from wondering who will come out on top in the bureaucratic in-fighting and how Charlie can possibly escape the clutches of his Russian captors who are interrogating him inside a dacha guarded by feral dogs. As usual with Freemantle, his descriptions of how far great powers will go to cause maximum public embarrassment to one another hovers just this side of implausibility, which makes these stories so chillingly plausible. "Red Star Falling" is not exactly spine-tingling, but it's often appallingly amusing and leaves one still unsure as to how Charlie's reckless marriage to a former Russian spy is going to work out. For this Charlie Muffin fan, that's enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By uglygorilla on February 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Been a Charlie Muffin fan for years (I'm old) and felt the finale to this trilogy was lacking a bit and Charlie was more absent than in any of the previous novels (including the first two Red Star books), more about the London operations than Charlie.

Nevertheless, still a cracking read and I hope that the author still has one or two books up his sleeve for Charlie, there's still life in those old Hush Puppies and more Islay whisky to be drunk.
And even if I am an old fart, I appreciate the author putting this out electronically rather just in paperback, instant, easy and better.
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Format: Hardcover
Be aware that this note refers to the aspects of the plot that you might not want to know about in advance.....

Freemantle's Charlie Muffin books are very good indeed. The plots are complex, the inside knowledge most impressive, the characters credible (up to a point), and there are always surprises.

In this third book in the Red Star series Freemantle more or less completes the story that begins with the discovery of a body in the grounds of the British embassy in Moscow. As this is legally British territory it falls to MI5 (~ domestic intelligence) rather than MI6 (~ external intelligence) to investigate (though why Scotland Yard aren't involved is another mystery). Charlie Muffin is assigned. In the first volume he solves the crime and uncovers a deep Soviet/Russian plot against the US. In the second volume he returns to Moscow to extract his Russian wife, who works for Russian intelligence, and their daughter. He succeeds but is captured before he can leave the country. Meanwhile, in parallel, British intelligence extracts the second-in-command of Russian intelligence from Russia and brings him and his wife to the UK.

In this volume we discover that much of what we were led to believe in the first two volumes wasn't quite what it appeared to be. This is where it seems that loose ends are left and the plot trips over itself. Charlie would not have solved the murder without the help of a Russian woman who claims to be the victim's lover but who Charlie exposes as an intelligence operative. Through his exposure of her "true" self he discovers and ends the plot against the US. However, if this woman had not contacted Charlie the crime would not have been solved and the Russian plot may have succeeded.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I say that Charlie is a hero, even though I'm pretty sure he doesn't think he is and most of the people he works for are sure he is not. However, in the many Charlie Muffin thrillers he consistently finds himself in difficult foreign and domestic situations and always out-thinks the group at large. To me, that is the stuff of that makes a hero.
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