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XPD by Len Deighton
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Jun 08, 12

bookshelves: espionage

XPD is one of my favorite Len Deighton stories. I'm sure of that because I've read it at least three times, now. It has among the best plot twists of Deighton's novels, but I think the appeal of this one is, atypically, the characters at the center who aren't spies, just poor schlubs who are caught in the middle but who have a fascinating intertwined history and some strength of character and sense of morality. Particularly, and again atypically, the American character Charles Stein, whose girth and gusto might be intimidating in person but are entertainingly depicted in the book. This story doesn't have the first person cynicism of the Bernard Samson books but it does feature the traditional Deighton ingredients of wartime nostalgia, longtime regrets, ever-present danger and uncertainty, and a glimpse of hidden and hard world operating beneath ordinary life,
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