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An American Spy (Milo Weaver) Paperback – October 16, 2012
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“Stunning. . .Readers are irresistibly drawn into Weaver's dogged struggle to unravel a complicated game of cat and mouse. . .Steinhauer is at the top of his game--but when isn't he?” ―USA Today
“The action is lickety-split and spiked with exceedingly satisfying spy craft.” ―The New York Times
“Not since Le Carre has a writer so vividly evoked the multilayered, multifaceted, deeply paranoid world of espionage, in which identities and allegiances are malleable and ever shifting, the mirrors of loyalty and betrayal reflecting one another to infinity. In this intensely clever, sometimes baffling book, it's never quite clear who is manipulating whom, and which side is up.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“This ambitious, complex story spans the globe. Even when the intricacies of its plot are most challenging, we are fascinated and swept forward. Steinhauer has been likened to John le Carre and rightly so. Both men carry readers deep into a rival spy agency, one Soviet, one Chinese. . .Zhu may in time be to Weaver what the Soviet spymaster Karla was to le Carre's George Smiley. Olen Steinhauer's Milo Weaver novels are must-reads for lovers of the genre.” ―The Washington Post
About the Author
OLEN STEINHAUER, the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, is a two-time Edgar award finalist, a Dashiell Hammett award winner and has been shortlisted for the Anthony, the Macavity, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and the Barry awards. Raised in Virginia, he lives in Budapest.
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Top customer reviews
Steinhauer does an amazing job with his characters. As in the first two books, I appreciated the strong women who play crucial roles rather than being window dressing. Milo Weaver himself has become increasingly likable as he has moved away from the cold killer with suicidal tendencies at the beginning of the first book (The Tourist) to a person who makes moral choices, values his family above all else, regrets loss of life, and only reluctantly participates in the spy game. More amazingly, Steinhauer is able to get his reader to empathize with Milo's arch enemy and everyone whose allegiances are in between or shifting (except perhaps U.S. Senator Nathan Irwin).
Steinhauer paints a picture of a spy world in which not just enemies but also allies spy on each other and kill other countries' or their own countries' spies when they know too much. The spies don't often know the reasons for their orders, and the spies and their masters change allegiances when they or their families are threatened. Steinhauer makes very few references to love of one's own country or patriotism as motivating the spies; they are simply people who have valuable skills and usually damaging histories that limit their emotional empathy and conscience. The way in which Milo grows is that he begins to take responsibility for his own actions, to doubt the purity of his superiors' motivations, and to demand legitimate reasons for his actions. The message in An American Spy is spoken by several characters at different points in the book: You always have a choice.
Although Steinhauer does manage to pull everything from three volumes together by the conclusion of this book, I did not find the ending very satisfying. It is abrupt, and there is too little information. I also don't think the reader learns enough about Alan Drummond's thinking at different stages to be able to judge how legitimate his actions were, which is important for understanding the ending. For these reasons, I rated the book 4 instead of 5 stars.