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An Honorable Man

(George Mueller #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  885 ratings  ·  118 reviews
A debut espionage novel in the style of Alan Furst and John le Carré, An Honorable Man is a chilling Cold War spy thriller set in 1950s Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C., 1953. The Cold War is heating up: McCarthyism, with all its fear and demagoguery, is raging in the nation’s capital, and Joseph Stalin’s death has left a dangerous power vacuum in the Soviet Union.

The CIA,
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  885 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Nahid Rachlin
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The novel engaged me from the first page and kept me interested to the end. I particularly like the characterization of the people in it.
I received this from Netgalley (quite a while back) in exchange for an honest review.

Perfect Cold War/Spy thriller classic-style written in the vein of the old masters, like le Carré or Len Deighton.

The synopsis is simple: there's a Soviet mole deep in the CIA. Only a few agents know, and they need to find the double agent before the FBI finds out, all the while traversing the trials of Senator McCarthy and his Red Scare.

There's not a lot of action, truth be told, but the cerebral scenes, the t
Brandon Forsyth
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Aspires to be le Carré, but never quite gets there. Some great scenes, but never resonates emotionally. The afterword, where Vidich talks about the historical incident this was inspired by, sounds fascinating and deserves a non-fiction perspective.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
It’s the 1950’s in Washington, D.C. The height of the McCarthy communist witch hunts. In the C.I.A. there is a traitor. A mole code-named “Protocol” is on the loose. Nobody can be trusted; the safety of countless agents as well as homeland security is imperiled.

This is the setting of Paul Vidich’s debut novel, An Honorable Man, and it’s a good one.

There is only one man the Director of the C.I.A. trusts to ferret out this mole—George Mueller—an Ivy League educated operative with a lot of experi
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Old-Fashion Spy Fiction at its Finest!

Paul Vidich delivers a fascinating adventurous debut AN HONORABLE MAN –richly atmospheric, inspired by true events. Suspenseful—powerful and gritty; a chilling Cold War spy mystery thriller!

The dark shadows are lurking from the past. How personal is the political? Is the past ever past? A riveting mystery with a poignant cast of characters – Complex, emotional, rich in
The Real Book Spy
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
See this review and more at

It’s my belief that the spy genre was at its absolute best during the Cold War era when authors like John Le Carre’ were writing thrilling tales of espionage and double-agents with whit and pizazz. In his debut novel, Paul Vidich takes readers back to that time, dropping them off in 1953 as the world’s two greatest superpowers prepare to wage war against one another.

I started this book wanting to like it, and ended up loving it. An Honorable Man is
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A spy novel based upon a real spy! Fantastic!! Author Paul Vidich used historical information from James Speyer Kronthal’s life to write a fiction piece involving the CIA and FBI during the Cold War of the McCarthy era. This is a spy thriller that has literary legs.

The main character, George Mueller seems haunted by his career in the CIA. He’s tired, and looking for a way out. As the book title implies, he seems to be an honorable man who is wrestling with the ambiguity of honor and loyalty: Lo
Mal Warwick
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Half a century ago we learned from John le Carré about amorality and corruption in the world of espionage. Other authors have written hundreds of books about spies since then. Some, including Alan Furst, Charles Cumming, Olen Steinhauer, Dame Stella Rimington, and Joseph Kanon, for example, have made their own estimable contributions to the genre in recent decades. But only rarely has their work brought to light the sheer ugliness of the espionage craft and what damage it wreaks on those who pra ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark tale of the search for a Soviet double agent at the heart of the American government. The story is set in 1953, at the height of Senator Joe McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee's "show trials" in Washington as a nation panics at the thought of Communists destroying their country from within.

The director of the fledgling CIA knows that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI will also try to unmask the traitor, code named "Protocol", in order to embarrass and weaken the agency. He assembles a
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3 1/4 stars. I swear that I am not a spy thriller fan. But I seem to have read three -- including An Honorable Man -- in the past month or so. What attracts me to these books in the first place is the time period -- I have a particular interest in the history and politics of the Cold War. Unfortunately, spy thrillers are rarely the best source of information or insight for this historical period -- although sometimes they are, which is why I keep reading them. An Honorable Man didn't deliver wha ...more
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read, I could not stop hearing it to the end. The book invites comparison with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from John Le Caree. The hero named George, the traitor homosexual, the turmoil in NKWD after Stalins death and a few other resemblances. But the book can stand this comparison much more than any other spy novel I read.

It goes slightly beyond the pure thriller by choosing the McCarthy area as a background. Not as much as Graham Green in the Quiet American, but it has a
Paula Kaufman
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since anyone appeared to be a worthy LeCarre successor, but in An Honorable Man, Paul Viditch shows great promise of stepping into those shoes. It was so refreshing to read an intelligent novel about intelligent men caught up in the early days of the Cold War, around the time of Stalin's death. And of the choices, wise and unwise, that all people make, no matter their intelligence or education. Viditch not only presents us with characters who think, he forces the reader to thin ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Slow-moving, unsurprising, but enjoyable. Certainly well-written, but it has a pretense of intellectualism that was sadly not warranted by a sophisticated story. The dramatic ending is almost comical (and it's not supposed to be).
Linda Hepworth
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story is set in Washington DC in 1953, against a background of The Cold War, a newly unstable Soviet Union following the death of Stalin and the McCarthy witch-hunts. Failed espionage missions and the deaths of a number of agents, have exposed the fact that there is a double agent, code-name Protocol, within the CIA. This mole must be tracked down as soon as possible and, with the FBI eager to expose any weakness in the CIA, the Director trusts only one man to take on the job. This is Georg ...more
Arthur Okun
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Subject:Soviet and American Espionage In The 50's.
And the Senate,McCarthy Communist Investigations.
The author was intrigued by the idea and fact of Ivy League educated young men
lived a secret life-within secret work.For the CIA you couldn't tell anyone-even your wife
what you did for a living.
George Mueller seems to be the perfect man to help find the "mole" in the CIA.
Yale educated,extensive experience running missions in Eastern Europe.He was
so dedicated to his job that it left his marriage
Barry Fulton
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great writing, great story. Authentic and plausible. Set in 1952, CIA spy George Muller has announced his resignation when the Director persuades him to stay on until the Soviet mole within the agency is identified.
Patrick SG
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very evocative book of the post-War environment in Europe and American, especially around the time of the McCarthy hearings. While it is fiction, it is based in fact as the author details in an afterword. An interesting story about a mole hunt in the early CIA, with believable characters.
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Started slowly but built up to an interesting climax. Recommended and I'll read the next in the series.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: want-to-own, library
While this was a good read, I found it overall just "ok." Nothing special stood out, and the ending was somewhat lackluster.
Floyd Truskot
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017

This novel is too good to be true!

Absolutely fabulous!

This novel was a page turner! I couldn't put it down.

Absolutely astounded!

Novelist Paul Vidich has the writing skills, talent and good story telling to swim with the sharks! Reading this novel I felt I was a stealth character in the background. Novelist Paul Vidich has a unique way of using words in his sentence structure. Prose excellent. Detail to characters and scenes, excellent.

This is a real spy espionage novel.

It was joy to re
Paul Bk
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
An Honorable Man - Paul Vidich.
George Mueller is the only man that the CIA Director trusts with the task of unmasking the mole passing secrets to the Russians. 'Protocol' leaks are scuppering operations and agents in the field are getting captured or killed. No one escapes suspicion and everyone has secrets to hide, none more so than Mueller. Accepting this one last assignment puts him at the centre of a cat and mouse game with deadly consequences.
It is 1953, the cold war is ramping up, McCart
Breakaway Reviewers
An honourable tale

I had no great expectations of this book. In truth, I acquired it from a book swapping website. I had heard the author and title on a book review site I follow and I think that’s why I chose it to swap. I was pleasantly surprised when I read it. I found it concise, slow but nevertheless gripping. I thought it was very visual and can see it translating well to maybe the small screen rather than the big. I was reminded both of John Le Carre and Len Deighton as I read. I don’t kno
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
George Mueller is a veteran of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. Now a cold warrior in the early 1950's, sick of working for the CIA, he has a job offer in academia. Enemies surround him, even in Washington, DC: Russians, the FBI trying to return to the counter intelligence role so beloved by J. Edger Hoover, CIA bureaucrats and a mole tipping off the Russians who are rounding up spies in Russia and the rest of the Iron Curtain countries, and lurking in the background Senat ...more
Ralph Blackburn
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An Honorable Man by Paul Vidich- This is a spy story more in the John Le Carre' mold than James Bond, and like most Le Carre' protagonists, this one, George Mueller, is a world-weary servant of truth who must lie his way through life for the good of his country. No fancy gadgets, car chases, or explosions needed here. Vidich, in his first entry into this genre strikes all the right notes and brings all the cerebral fireworks to bear telling Mueller's story of being double-crossed and betrayed by ...more
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Washington, early 1950s. The Cold War is just about to reach its climax, when the agencies and their spies dominate politics. George Mueller works for the CIA and tries to establish the link to a Soviet agent, something he already did in the post-war Europe. That time, something went wrong and now again, there must be someone informing the enemy. Mueller is on his own, a tricky mission with a lot at stake.

A classic espionage novel in the style of Jon le Carrés stories which revives the era of th
Dan Vidra
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Paul Vidich writes a compelling, sophisticated, thriller that captures a specific moment in American history perfectly. It is a book for grown-ups that is atmospheric and pulls the reader into the world of post-WWII USA blended with the early challenges of the Cold War. The protagonist, George Mueller, is a fully-realized character that the reader comes to know. Mueller is a man pulled in directions that only he knows - which fits in well with the world of keeping secrets - that all the well-wri ...more
Andrew Pellow
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
An Honorable Man is a tightly constructed story written in a similar vein and style to le Carré or Len Deighton - both authors I greatly enjoy. It brilliantly conveys the claustrophobia and paranoia that necessarily came with being a spy in the 50's.

James Mueller is an agent with the CIA detailed to discover the mole within the department. At the same time he is disillusioned with life as a spy and is looking to get out leading to many scenes of self-inspection.

The understated pace of the book
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is thoroughly entertaining and well written. I don't understand why at the present time its rating isn't higher. It has intrigue, romance and lots of "spy stuff" in it. The book is loosely based on a true story. It seems to capture the paranoia that was going on in the 1950s and the Cold War well. (I was only a baby and young child at the time, but I can remember the country being intrigued and somewhat frightened by the happenings in the Soviet Union and other communist nations). It i ...more
When I saw that Paul Vidich had taken real-life events and used them as inspiration for An Honorable Man, a dark and twisty Cold-War era spy novel, I rubbed my hands together in anticipation. Now that sounded like something that would be full of the twists and turns I love in spy novels. That era always evokes James Bond style spy shenanigans. Although I would never want to encounter them in real life (Ack!), I have so much fun reading about them. And An Honorable Man certainly delivers. If you ...more
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-ARC of this book.
This is a spy thriller that slowly builds to a somewhat surprising
conclusion. It develops characters and plot gradually but does not bore.
The writing is sometimes very prosaic and at others almost lyrical. This
was startling at first but then became a lovely diversion from the more

Four stars because this book kept me totally absorbed to the very end. It
was realistic and true to history.
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Selected by Publisher's Weekly as one of the Top 10 mysteries and thrillers coming 2016.

A Booklist Starred Review.

"Cold War spy fiction in the grand tradition--neatly plotted betrayals in that shadow world where no one can be trusted and agents are haunted by their own moral compromises." -- Joseph Kanon, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Berlin and Istanbul Passage.

"A cool, knowing,

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