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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Don;t look now, but you are being followed!
on August 3, 2012
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. As he is about to leave to join his father in Europe, Bill receives a letter written on his old portable typewriter which alludes to facts from an early spy novel. The letter starts him off on a journey which will lead him to the truth about Lemaster's possible treachery. Along the way, Bill meets many of the undercover people who made Cold War espionage what it was. He also meets his old high school girl friend, who is living in Vienna now. The web get more and more tightly wound.
I am an unrepentant fan of the spy novels which are set between the World Wars and into the Cold War. These books are all here, along with a listing at the back of the book of the most notable authors and their books. Bill's "handler", who is a mystery until the very end of the book (no peeking), guides him on his quest by using hints and names from the best of these books. Both Bill and his father have collections of these books, and the handler has an irritating habit of breaking into both their houses and cutting pages out of the books to use as guides and hints for Bill. Unfortunately many of these books, especially in the collection of Mr. Cage, Senior, are collector's items and first editions. I'm not sure, if it were me, that I wouldn't have started tracking down the handler and putting an end to him.
This is a great book based on a very original idea. If you are a fan of spy novels, it makes it even more interesting as you recognize and relate back to the books. I recommend it highly. Right now, I have an appointment with John LeCarre's "Smiley's People". With my new found knowledge from Fesperman's book, I want to see what I didn't catch on to the first four times I read it. Enjoy!