Defectors

Written by Joseph Kanon

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.


Defectors
Simon and Schuster
RRP: £14.99
Released: June 1 2017
HBK

It is 1961 Moscow and former CIA agent Frank Weeks is literally out in the cold; designated a traitor or a hero, depending on which side of the Cold War battle lines you stand.

When Frank writes his memoirs, his brother Simon crosses the Iron Curtain to edit the manuscript. It isn't long before he discovers there is more going on than a publishing deal. Their awkward reconciliation is part of a game in which both the CIA and the KGB have a significant amount of skin in the game.

Joseph Kanon has written a novel that brings the curious shadow world of the cold war brilliantly back to life. He perfectly realises the atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia of the time - where no one or any action is what it seems. The author also mines the rich seam of angst to be found within family life of the protagonists. The ties that bind can both support and restrict those to whom they are fixed.

The link between family and state, as well as the expectations that both impose is skilfully drawn, as is the impossibility of escaping from either, even trying to do so has a potentially ruinous cost.

This novel is worlds away from the noisy fantasies of Bond and Bourne, instead it captures with clarity the compromised nature of the spying game, and how it ultimately destroys even the most accomplished of players trapped in the looking-glass world of espionage.



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