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A Colder War: A Novel (Thomas Kell) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 397 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Someone is leaking secrets in the Bosporus. There are several targets, and each one is looked at with great rigor. A fellow colleague has been killed in a plane crash, and it is up to Kell to find the reason. Somewhere between, London, Turkey, and Russia, there is a double agent. Along the way, a lot of good sleuthing and spy work. Kell has his choice of the best spies, and he once again meets up with an old antagonist and meets a new one. The environments in each of these countries is explored within the boundaries of work and play, and we are there. We can smell the sea, observe the night clubs and the restaurants. Harrods comes alive in London, the secret offices and houses of MI6, their offices in other countries, the secret phone rooms, the tea, the whiskey, the food, all lead us to an extremely well run organization. We meet the SVR, Russian secret agents, CIA, observe their methods of clandestine work. And, most of all, we get to know Kell, who is almost as secretive as Amelia, the woman he works for.
Such a well written novel, and you cannot guess how 'things' will work out because new problems and people pop up right until the end.
Recommended. prisrob 02-10-17
OK, it’s officially an English spy novel now.
Kell is suddenly called back into service. A longtime friend and associate dies under dubious circumstances. The friend, Paul Wallinger, head of MI-6’s Ankara office, was the longtime lover of new MI-6 director Amanda Levene, who has been close to Kell over the years but distant during his months in purgatory.
Now Levene wants him to investigate, because he’s one of the few that knew of the love affair.
And there’s more. (Of course.) Wallinger and Levene were among the very few who knew a mole had been discovered – British or American, it isn’t clear, but highly placed enough to have already caused blown missions and lost lives.
The plot thickens as Wallinger, a noted womanizer, is found to have been involved with another woman, one with ties to East European intelligence. Was he actually the mole? Was he caught in the proverbial honey trap and blackmailed?
Kell shakes off the cobwebs and goes to Turkey, a fine setting for espionage novels since the days of the Orient Express, to investigate. Along the way he meets Wallinger’s grown daughter Rachel – enchanting, delightful, but highly distrustful of spies like her father, who so hurt her mother with his serial infidelities. The investigation into Wallinger’s death intertwines with the mole hunt to create a subtle but steadily moving plot. Kell finds his skills haven't left, but meanwhile his growing feelings for Rachel and his questions about what she, and also Levene, aren't telling him, threatens to cloud his judgment.
The title and story remind us that tensions between the West and Russia haven’t necessarily eased just because the Cold War is over. (In the 19th century, it was the Great Game between Russia and other imperial powers like Britain for dominance in Asia. In the late 20th century, it was the Cold War. We need a new name for today’s struggles.)
I don’t like everything about this book. Cumming, through Kell’s eyes, disparages the U.S. (arrogant cowboys!) and Israel (totally unprincipled spies!) too much for me. To his credit, though, he ultimately finds the traitor to have been motivated by the same animosities, showing where such cultural and political self-hatred can lead.
The ending suggests we haven't heard the last in the Kell series. I'll read the sequel.