The Last Supper (Paul Christopher #5)
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The Last Supper (Paul Christopher #05)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  495 ratings  ·  45 reviews
First published in 1983, this is one of a half dozen of McCarry's espionage thrillers featuring CIA agent Paul Christopher, an old school spy who operates in a world where clever and vicious communists are unquestionably the villains, and who is handsome, dedicated and never short of compliant women. Dismissing his lover Molly Benson's feelings of dread, Paul leaves her be...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published March 23rd 2006 by Overlook Hardcover (first published 1983)
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For many years, the superior spy novels of Charles McCarry were only found in used bookshops. Thanks to republication by Overlook Press, it is now possible to easily get copies of McCarry's Paul Christopher novels. I've just finished the Last Supper, which is probably the best of the four Cold War Christopher novels.

What I find most remarkable about these four novels is that they remain consistently excellent while being dramatically different in execution. The first, Miernik Dossier, is the mos...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I'm having a hard time rating this objectively because I have apparently become temporarily jaded about books in general. After finishing this one, I started and rejected EIGHT novels in a row!

Anyway, this is a clever little labyrinthine biography of Paul Christopher. It wasn't the first Christopher novel, but it's a really good one for getting to know all the characters that show up in the other books in the series. You get to find out the history of how all the people ended up in Paul's life,...more
This is, in my opinion, the greatest spy novel ever written. It's the fourth book in a melancholy, pensive seven volume series, which traces the fortunes of an OSS/CIA family from the years just before WWII up to the present day. Although ostensibly a genre exercise, I've oftened compared the scope and breadth of this series to Balzac -- such is the author's attention to detail and characterization. The books don't take place in chronological order, and frequently jump back and forth in time. On...more
Ian Robb
A good book in the author’s Paul Christopher series. Traces Paul’s family from before he was born, through the loss of his mother, death of his father. All the time there are conspiracies and there seems to be a mole most of the way through. Wolkowicz, who is always there for Paul and everyone in American security, it seems, is it. I really enjoyed this book. It has a depth of plot and is a good, SLOW, read. I should read it again. I read this in Victoria

I read it again May 2007 and it is a gre...more
John Treanor
"Read" this one as an audio book via That certainly colored my reaction to the book. Not sure that I'll do that again except on long drives or flights. The scope of the book was pretty epic, covering Germany in the late 30's, the war in Burma, post-war Berlin and modern-day France and Washington. You're probably better off reading the Tears of Autumn first, as that is helpful understanding some of the references. The subject is Paul Cristopher, a member of "The Outfit" or CIA. It co...more
McCarry, Charles. THE LAST SUPPER. (1983). *****. McCarry is probably the most under-valued writer of our times. He is a master craftsman of the espionage novel. All of them focus on the human side of spydom, although there are lots of well-researched scenes set in exotic locales. This novel focuses on the life of his major character, Paul Christopher, from his introduction into the secret world of “The Outfit” during post World War II, through the Cold War and into current times. This is really...more
I have not read any other books in this series, but it did not take away from the enjoyment I had in reading a well crafted espionage story. The story traces the lives of the series hero, Paul Christopher, his father and their family and colleagues who work in the OSS then CIA. A big story as there is the father's story, Paul's story and the story of Wolkowicz - their friend and his experiences in WWII and later.
May 18, 2010 gaby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: spy
Mind-meltingly wonderful.

The novel chronicles the Christopher family through several decades, from the earliest Gestapo shadows in Austria to the tattered jungles of Burma during early OSS/CIA ops, to the summer stench of Saigon during the Vietnam War, to the bombed-out sewers of Berlin blanketed in heirloom Persian rugs and decoder machines during counterintelligence ops against the Russians during the Cold War.

But, though the novel is ostensibly about the Christophers, it's really about some...more
Sandra Heinzman
Picked this up at our cruise ship's library. What a good book; I must read more by this author! It takes place over a number of decades and is out spying. I'm still thnkng about it a day later. Recommend!96
The book was slow to start and I was really wondering what the whole thing was about, but I realised about 1/3 through that it was just building up a background for the story. It was a great story in the end. Interesting take on the spy genre and although I was pretty sure who the bad guy was by about 3/4 through, it still kept me guessing a bit.

It jumped years a bit which was a little hard to follow and left you wondering what happened in the years not written about, but I did really enjoy it b...more
More than a spy novel, an epic tale of betrayal and intrigue that reminded me, in its scope, of the novels of Dorothy Dunnett. It was only towards the end of this book that I realized that Paul Christopher is not actually the hero of McCarry's so-called Christopher novels. I will leave it to readers to come their own realizations who is at the true centre of these books. (Hint: not Lori, either.)
Jul 23, 2011 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: spy
Loved this book about the spy Paul Christopher. It deals with Paul's parents, Hubbard and Loti and their network of friends, many of whom are spies as well. Paul's life has been defined by his parents' roles in the spying game for the US. He is dragged into a plot to try to locate a mole who is betraying America to the USSR and spends 10 years as a prisoner in China before the spy is unmasked.
Aug 06, 2010 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No
Recommended to Paul by: Book review
I guess I'm in the minority about this book but I found it very, very slow moving and boring. All of the background information of the first half of the book was really tedious and added little to the ultimate twist. I found The Miernik Dossier to be the same so I assume this must be McCarry's style. If we use LeCarre as the gold standard for this genre, this book is lead.
Terrific! Mccarry writes such compelling stuff. His characters are fully developed and interesting. His books draw you in. You care about the people.
This is probably not the first of the Paul Christopher books to read. I think the Mienek dossier should precede this. I can't wait for the next one. No one else quite gives you the sense of how a spy lives.
This Paul Christopher novel brings the protagonist of McCarry's series back and forward to explain some history - personal and professional.
McCarry takes us from Paris to Saigon to the Chinese gulag and back to Washington. The story never drags, even as Paul spends 10 years in solitary - composing a poem a word a day.
This book, a spy thriller, traces the fortunes of a family in the espionage business for several decades/generations. The plot was exciting, but I found the characters weak and unlikable, which made it hard to get in to the story. There were numerous sub-plots that weren't integrated well into the story as a whole.
Alex Martini
The Paul Christopher novels are sublime - more than just spy-genre, they are beautifully written paeans to a lost world: McCarry is a right-wing lunatic in real-life, but that should not detract from his prose - a seriously underrated American author, and in the top 20 of America's most interesting writers.
This book was recommended to me by a colleague. It is a very different take on the spy genre. The writing is crisp. The story is simple yet so complex. The author doesn't bog you down in unnecessary details. The ending is astonishing, yet it was laid out there for you. A very enjoyable read.
One of my favorite novels of all time; at one level, it's a stunningly executed roman a clef history of the CIA; at the same time, the characters are so vividly drawn, the layers of memory, regret and betrayal so carefully crafted, that the novel stands on its own when divorced from that history.
J. Ewbank
This book by Charles McCarry is another great read. It was some book. The characters and the plot were gripping and kepet you reading until the end to see what would happen. I could not put the book down.

J. Robert Ewbank, author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Aug 11, 2008 Geoffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all espionage enthusiasts
Recommended to Geoffrey by: read another by him
Shelves: thrillers
Another brilliant story by McCarry. This continues the Paul Christoher (his main character) series of espionage books. He is tremendous at weaving in details that build incredibly deep characters and keep the story spinning forward.
Elizabeth (Liz)
Jul 18, 2007 Elizabeth (Liz) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Alan Furst fans
This is the best thriller/spy book I have read in a long time. Now I am going to go out and find all the others by this author. Lots of twist and turns, beautifully written, read every word carefully and enjoy!
Terry Gallagher
Read this first some years ago, and this through, I appreciated the tradecraft, settings, characters, etc. But I remembered whodunit from the very beginning, which took a lot of the suspense out of it.
The middle section of the book is a bit slow, but towards the end the pace of the story gets better. When you get to the last one hundred pages or so, you just want to finish reading as soon as possible.
Christopher Culp
In the Paul Christopher series, this ties a lot of strings and connects a lot of dots. For followers of the series, it is impossible to put down. I loved reading every page of this book.
I was dissappointed. Was looking back to characters from later-published Old Boys. Shares some of the tone and panorama, but the narrative line didn't appeal.
This is a great book - unfortunately, I read it out of sequence - DON'T DO THIS!

It is similar to "The Company", but a little more opaque and literary.
Brad Lyerla
This novel, my first of McCarry's, is wonderful. It measures up quite nicely to John LeCarre and the best espionage writing out there.
I never really understood what was happening in this story. I kept reading until the end and still did not get it.
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McCarry served in the United States Army, where he was a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, has been a small-town newspaperman, and was a speechwriter in the Eisenhower administration. From 1958 to 1967 he worked for the CIA, under deep cover in Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, his cover was not as a writer or journalist. He is married with four grown sons. His family is from The Berkshires ar...more
More about Charles McCarry...
The Tears of Autumn (Paul Christopher #2) The Miernik Dossier (Paul Christopher #1) Old Boys (Paul Christopher #9) The Shanghai Factor Christopher's Ghosts (Paul Christopher #1o)

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