Gentleman Traitor by Alan Williams is a spy novel mixing the styles of Ian Fleming and John le Carre. Always a sucker for this type of book, I was intGentleman Traitor by Alan Williams is a spy novel mixing the styles of Ian Fleming and John le Carre. Always a sucker for this type of book, I was intrigued and looking forward to the read. I was not disappointed. Mr Williams creates an explosive opening to the book with a massacre in South Africa. However, the reader has to keep reading to find out the relevance of this attack within the plot. The story centres around the legendary spy Kim Philby, in exile in Russia and wanting to come in out of the cold, as it were. The book examines Philby’s relationship with journalist Barry Cayle who wants to write a book about Philby. But Philby is more interested in using Cayle to explain to the British public his thoughts and reasoning behind his defection. Philby’s ace card is that he knows the names of high ranking officials within the British establishment who are also Russian spies. Philby is described in somewhat sympathetic terms so much so that the reader actually begins to feel sorry for the old spy. It examines his daily life in Russia, the things he misses from England and the power he has in Russia, being a high ranking officer in the KGB. Throughout the story is the additional thread of the British Intelligence contingent who are more than a little jittery about Cayle’s involvement with Philby. There is a great deal of politics in the book, but that doesn’t make it a dry read. If anything the examination of the figures in MI5 and MI6 help build an understanding of the attitudes and ideas of the day, greatly enhancing the plot. There are many twists and turns, with the pace in keeping with the setting, the 1970’s. This is not a high octane read, but a complex plot, with the emphasis on strategy rather than violence, with character always at its heart. Mr Williams has done a fine job with this novel and clearly writes from a position of knowledge and firsthand experience, making it a powerful read. ...more
The Federal Reserve has never been robbed. FBI Special Agent Jack Miller, pulled into a high-profile case to mentor a new agent,High hopes - dashed!
The Federal Reserve has never been robbed. FBI Special Agent Jack Miller, pulled into a high-profile case to mentor a new agent, finds himself in a clash with the toughest opponent of his career. The chase culminates in the bowels of the city, in the storm sewers and tunnels beneath The Ninth District Federal Reserve of Minneapolis.(Author description)
On reading the first seven chapters, I had high hopes for this novel. The character of Jack was well drawn and the author showed us what he was like through mannerisms and dialogue. The story premise of the FBI trying to catch a bank robber was interesting and so was the relationship between the older agent Jack and his younger partner Ross.
Unfortunately from Chapter 8 onwards it all fell apart, almost as if the remainder of the novel was either written by someone else, or the first few chapters had been polished and the rest of the novel wasn’t. The characterisation of the Governor was all over the place, as though the author didn’t know his character very well, leaving the reader confused as to the type of person he was. Story threads were begun, but never mentioned again. The novel jumps in time and place, with no explanation to support it. The dialogue between Jack and Ross becomes stilted and clichéd and I became very irritated with them constantly asking each other if they were OK.
The conclusion of the novel was disappointing. I do not intend to discuss the ending in detail as this would reveal too much, but it is all over the place, muddled, confusing and at times implausible.
I wish the excellent start and engaging writing style had been sustained throughout the book. ...more