David Morrell, better known as the writer of the novel the first Rambo movie was based on, wrote a spy trilogy in the early 1980s that has just been rDavid Morrell, better known as the writer of the novel the first Rambo movie was based on, wrote a spy trilogy in the early 1980s that has just been released in ebook format. The first, Brotherhood of the Rose, follows two orphans that have been raised as brothers and trained to become expert operatives for a secret branch of the CIA. One of the things that sets this book apart from other spy novels is a great concept – on the eve of WWII all of the directors of the various intelligence organizations banded together to create secret spy safe havens. A spy could go to one of these safe houses to retire in peace without worrying about anyone settling old scores. Not only is this an intriguing and semi believable idea, Morrell milks all of the twists and turns that are possible when two spies that are mortal enemies become trapped in the one place where they are prevented from harming each other. Last words: Brotherhood is not that convincing if you are hoping for a look at real tradecraft. However, when viewed among other spy thrillers this ranks very high with not only interesting and unique characters, but a really neat concept.
Picking up with ideas he started to explore in Brotherhood of the Rose, Morrell continues to look at the long term impact spending your life killing wPicking up with ideas he started to explore in Brotherhood of the Rose, Morrell continues to look at the long term impact spending your life killing would have on the soul.
Can a person find peace and forgiveness when everything they've ever done has caused destruction and pain?
Of course, this is all done with the backdrop of some amazing set pieces, including the opening sequence where we meet our protagonist, Drew, a spy who has withdrawn from society and become a monk. His newly found peaceful existence is ended when a hit team kills his fellow monks and attempts to kill him as well. Of course, it's no surprise that he escapes to find the people responsible but Morrell finds a way to take what seems to be a pretty standard thriller and make it something more.
Last Words: With it's combination of three dimensional characters and original action sequences Fraternity's starts with momentum that doesn't let up.
When you’re a tie-in novelist, you’re always going to lag behind the TV show you are writing about. That’s certainly the case with Tod Goldberg’s The When you’re a tie-in novelist, you’re always going to lag behind the TV show you are writing about. That’s certainly the case with Tod Goldberg’s The Giveaway, based on the USA show Burn Notice. His book has the unfortunate luck to use Biker gangs and Safety Deposit box robbing, both of which have played large roles in Season 4 episodes that weren’t a glimmer in the show producer’s eye when this book, just released, was written at the end of season 2. Burn Notice revolves around a Michael Westen, spy who has been “burned” by his bosses and left to pick up the pieces on his own in Miami. Although recent episodes have made certain aspects of “The Giveaway” redundant, Goldberg does a great job capturing the unique voices of the different characters on the show and giving them a fun little case to work. Burn Notice uses its lead character voice-overs to good effect and that lends itself to a first person book. The only moment the book falters are the few times the book strays from that first person narrative and in a surprisingly lackluster ending.
Last words: If you enjoy the show, this book is a fun diversion that will get you through those long months before the new season starts. Serious spy fans will want to take a pass.
The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer is the sequel to his first book in the series, The Tourist. Milo is an everyday working shlub trying to keep his mThe Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer is the sequel to his first book in the series, The Tourist. Milo is an everyday working shlub trying to keep his marriage from falling apart. The only difference is that he works for the Department of Tourism, a secret CIA organization dedicated to doing the work that’s so dirty even the regular CIA won’t do it. Oh, and his Dad is a former Russian spy.
Reading the summary, it sounds pretty over the top, but it’s to Steinhauer’s credit that he can make the mounting absurdities hang together. Milo and other characters we meet along the way are more than the typical two-dimensional James Bondian types and they have personalities that take them beyond the plot mechanics they take part in. For all the discussion critics have made of these books being post 9/11 spy stories they are still very rooted in the cold war. In fact in The Nearest Exit the author seems to be breaking down the cold war organization he has created. Certain hints left in the book indicate that Steinhauer is looking to have Milo shake off those cold warrior shackles and move on towards the new world order in intelligence following September 2001. Whatever happens, his latest book has left me eager to see where Milo heads next.
Last Words: The beginning gets off to a slow start and leaves you wondering where things are going, but the story picks up for a strong finish. A great entry in the promising Tourism series.
There’s something about the first person narrative that can really make a spy novel come alive. I think it’s the fact that you are stuck inside the spThere’s something about the first person narrative that can really make a spy novel come alive. I think it’s the fact that you are stuck inside the spy’s head with all the paranoia that being alone and undercover would require. There was no writer better at this than Adam Hall in his Quiller novels.
His spy, codenamed Quiller, worked for a secret government organization that reported directly to the Prime Minister. Quiller’s refusal to carry a gun, he claimed it made you weak, and need to work without backup, he was also the ultimate loner, is what distinguishes him from other spy characters.
In Quiller Meridian, he is sent to Russia to clean up the mess another agent has made of a mission. The resulting chaos includes a trip on the Orient Express, explosions, and, of course, the Russian Military and Police forces trying to stop Quiller from achieving his objective.
Last Shot: With a seemingly endless supply of cliffhangers and a truly great first person perspective this is one of Hall’s stronger Quiller entries.