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The Double Game [Kindle Edition]

Dan Fesperman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 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:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,110 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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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger Than Truth August 3, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Are you a fan of the espionage genre of mysteries? I mean the sort of books as written by Len Deighton, Erskin Childers, John LaCarre (the George Smiley ones), Edwin Lemaster and Helen McInnes. If so, you will either love this book as being as exciting and compelling as those by the named authors or you will hate this book as being insulting to your favorite author.

As I started this book, I had the impression that it was supposed to be a humorous one. As I waded deeper into the plot, I realized that this was a truly intriguing book. I regret that I found it difficult to put down and thereby finished it way too quickly. I think that I may set it aside in order to read it again after the specifics of the plot have muddled in my memory and I can totally enjoy it again

There are many referenced in this book to the writings of previous authors. Do not worry, the author is nice enough to tell you where you can find that quotation.

This is not a cold war spy story, but a plot set firmly in the modern day. The ghosts of the cold war, however, haunt this book from the start. I will stop my comments at this point or I might taint your enjoyment of this wonderful tale.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Overly Complete Report August 9, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I may not be smart enough to know who in "The Double Game" is a real person, but the bottom line is that I just don't care. This book is like doing a crossword puzzle using facts and events instead of single words and with about the same amount of emotion. Fictional characters are all mixed up with real people, living and dead, and while the exercise may be good for the brain, it isn't good for the mind. The characters' words and actions are sometimes taken from spy novels and sometimes old newspaper headlines. I confess I am not part of the cognoscenti, but more a member of the hoi poloi.

The biggest problem, for me, is that the 'hero,' Cage, isn't bright. You have to be a far better writer than Dan Fesperman in order to create a main character that is dumber than the average reader and make them interesting. Here's a guy who's read hundreds of spy novels, memorized many parts of them, yet doesn't ever seem to know when anyone is following him, who he can trust, who is lying, or how to talk to the police. For example, while being interrogated, Cage is on his guard. When the police suddenly change topics, he relaxes. Really? Has he learned nothing about police tactics? It gets absurd. He always looks "up and down the street" to see if he's being followed. He sees nobody and concludes he's not. Even I, a simple book reviewer, know that looking up and down a street will not tell you if you're being followed. What? He thought they'd be sauntering toward him or peering around a stop sign?

Cage will talk about the hunches and intuitions of his book heroes, yet never acts on his own. Instead, he's always 'deciding things.' This makes him a bit of a wide-eyed doofus. He 'decides' to have a transaction on a set of outdoor stairs. It's a trap, of course.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 1 month ago by Barbara Saffer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Find...
I was looking for a new book by Charles McCarry. Because there were no new ones by that author Amazon suggested Fesperman.
Good choice -- thank you Amazon. Read more
Published 3 months ago by N. Daniel
3.0 out of 5 stars Puzzled by Reviews
The number of stellar reviews puzzles me. It had a clever scheme for the plot, but I found it just too simplistic. Read more
Published 9 months ago by S. Huston
3.0 out of 5 stars Good summertime beach read.
Not the best spy novel I have read but not the worst. Interesting European scenery. Enough action to hold your interest. Some good plot twist. Disappointing ending.
Published 9 months ago by JMCOMBS
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good First Outing
A great first outing. There was more Hollywood-like implausibility used to amp up the excitement than I would have liked, but it's an entertaining read and I'll be looking for his... Read more
Published 10 months ago by HKDaddyO
4.0 out of 5 stars The Double Game
There is no need to re-tell the story. It is a tribute to the spy genre. I loved not knowing who was truthful and whether both friends and family were on the side of the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pete Thomas
3.0 out of 5 stars For classic spy novel fans, a lot of fun
Fesperman's novel is great fun for anyone who likes the Cold War spy thrillers of Le Carre, Greene, Deighton, et al. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Paul B. Crook
2.0 out of 5 stars Gimmick
The author uses the venerable play within a play device in an espionage thriller. The author uses plot elements and scenes from quite a few prominent spy novels in the plot. Read more
Published 14 months ago by R. Albin
4.0 out of 5 stars a jaunt through the history of the spy novel genre
If you enjoy old-fashioned spy novels, this might be just your thing. The premise is interesting, and the lines between fact and fiction are fuzzy at best. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Carol C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engrossing Spy caper-reminiscent of LeCarre
The Cold War is over-supposedly. Yet, spies and double agents don't just stop in their orientation and training. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Nice Lady
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