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The Last Supper
Charles McCarry
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The Last Supper (Paul Christopher #5)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  782 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
On a rainy night in Paris, Paul Christopher's lover, Molly Benson, falls victim to a vehicular homicide minutes after Christopher boards a jet bound for Vietnam. To explain this seemingly senseless murder, The Last Supper takes its readers back not only to the earliest days of Christopher's life, but also to the origins of the CIA in the clandestine operations of the OSS d ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 29th 2008 by Overlook Press, The (first published 1983)
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(showing 1-30)
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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,
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian Robb
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Treanor
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never really understood what was happening in this story. I kept reading until the end and still did not get it.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story starts like a bullet: CIA agent Paul Christopher's girlfriend is shot dead in a sudden and mysterious way. Then Charles McCarry seems to suggest that, in order for him to explain and for the reader to understand the facts behind this murder, we need to go back in time and go through not only the entire life of our hero but that of his father too. This long flash back takes a good half of the book; then, when we are back at the starting point, McCarry sends us back to a previous novel ( ...more
Brandon Gryder
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another re-read. I'm sure everyone is tired of me singing Mr. McCarry's praises. Sorry, I have to do it again. Please read this book. On this, my 4th reading, The Last Supper supplanted The Tears of Autumn as my favorite spy novel of all time. It also ranks in a group of 3 or 4 books that are my all-time favorites. is that good.
Aug 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spy tale, perhaps one of the best I've read in recent times.

This story spans decades, from the infancy of modern spydom, WWII, to the later days of the Cold War, thoughtfully told and delivered. It does take some time for the narrative to pick up but the author keeps us engaged with character development, then, in one fell swoop, strips the veneer off, revealing hidden depths to their deception. Spies behaving badly.

I enjoyed the book immensely, reminding me of the early works of John le Carré,
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christian Stafford
This is a general review on Charles McCarry rather than a specific review of this novel. He's captivating as a writer, creating a sense of awe and fascination with his main character. He works subtly with the idea of the spy as hero, it's not too obvious and somehow compelling and to this degree he is a successful writer. He does not however reach the heights of Le Carre's realism. He's still entrenched in a somewhat mythical worldview. His hero is larger than life, although he fascinates, he ul ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.)
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.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alex Martini
Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-books-read
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.
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I've ended this book bemused as to whether to give it away or read another "Paul Christopher" thriller. There were chapters that were utterly engrossing (the World War 2 jungle scene) and others which felt unbelieveable (flying into China). I can't tell. Interesting characters - but interesting enough?
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
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'"
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Elizabeth (Liz)
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I just reread this book. Surprisingly good for what's supposed to be a paperback spy novel. Very literary, whatever that means. I actually prefer McCarry to Le Carre, as the former seems to have a bit more heart.
Jun 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sandra Heinzman
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, suspense
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
Terry Gallagher
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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.

McCarry was editor-at-large for National Geographic and has contributed
More about Charles McCarry...

Other Books in the Series

Paul Christopher (10 books)
  • The Miernik Dossier (Paul Christopher #1)
  • The Tears of Autumn (Paul Christopher #2)
  • The Secret Lovers (Paul Christopher #3)
  • The Better Angels (Paul Christopher #4)
  • The Bride of the Wilderness (Paul Christopher #6)
  • Second Sight (Paul Christopher #7)
  • Shelley's Heart (Paul Christopher #8)
  • Old Boys (Paul Christopher #9)
  • Christopher's Ghosts (Paul Christopher #10)

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