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Free Agent

(Paul Dark #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  48 reviews
'I was transported back to the heyday of spy fiction and reminded of the best of le Carré, Deighton, and Forsyth' - Christopher Reich, author of Rules of Deception

Hailed as "the beginning of a classic series that's sure to be a huge hit" (Gayle Lynds), Free Agent is an intense and relentlessly paced spy thriller that introduces an unforgettable new hero to the canon of e
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 25th 2009 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  265 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Nick Brett
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Delighted to have been recommended this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read a lot of thrillers and it is hard not to see many similar themes and ideas, but this was a bit different.
Firstly it is set in 1969, a time of turmoil in the British Secret Service as the exposure of the spies within the “Cambridge Five” have set everyone against each-other amongst the suspicion of further spies. Secondly, our “hero”, Paul Dark, is precisely that. A senior intelligence official but he works for the Ru
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's mindblowing to me that this is Jeremy Duns' first book. Within 5 pages I felt like I was decades into a spy family dynasty. The emotional investment was instantaneous and the pace of the book kept me turing page after page. ...more
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Cold War thriller, complete with double agent. This is the first of a trilogy and I eagerly await book 2.
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Free Agent is the first in Jeremy Duns' planned trilogy of novels featuring Paul Dark. Free Agent is to be followed be Free Country and then Free World. And I must say this novel gets the series off to a flying start. The first jolt comes within the opening pages after you've been lulled into a false sense of security. It's the obligatory briefing scene, where the secret agent receives his mission instructions from his superior. Often in this type of scene in other spy books, you get the crusty ...more
Matt Raubenheimer
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in the Paul Dark series, a thrilling spy novel set mostly in Nigeria in 1969. Great blend of espionage and intrigue, with a fast paced action filled plot. Paul Dark is a unique protagonist, I look forward to getting my hands on the next novel in the series.
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Empty "thriller" with an uninteresting protagonist...,

Looking back, I can't say where the book took a turn, but it didn't take long for the story presented to start getting bogged down in it's own details or, occassionally, lack thereof. The story had potential, but our narrator, Paul Dark, is a character that it is hard to like or dislike; he just tells us his story. Never knowing whether or not Dark (the name is a bit too cliche for my tastes, as well) is a good guy or a bad guy, a victim or a
Jun 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I didn't think this book was great but it was ok. I didn't realize until the end of the book that it was a start of a series with the next book being Free Country featuring Paul Dark. I think with it being the first book in the series that the author made a mistake. Most first books in a series set everything up and give a lot of depth to a character. I didn't feel the author did this. I felt he had a story he wanted to tell and he was going to tell it. The plot I felt was somewhat confusing and ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: espionage
This was a strange book. While reading it, I went back and forth between liking and disliking. One problem is the main character is not very likable. And he seems to act too quickly, not really thinking things through, although he is quick to figure things out when they happen, He just seems to continually make bad choices. But the plot is swift enough and intriguing enough to keep me reading, just to find out where it was headed. But at the end, I really didn't care.

One big plus though is the
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great, thrilling read!

Read my review and an interview with the author here:
Ian Wojcikiewicz
A great read for a long weekend, especially if you're into the whole James Bond thing. ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good book describing why an agent killed his own chief.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Russian double agent in Britain during Nigerian war vs. Biafra. Couldn't put it down. ...more
Paul Dark is senior intelligence officer in UK's secret service. When called by his Chief in order to check reports on possible Russian spy willing to cross over to the West, Dark panics and starts the events that will take him from London and England to war-torn Ethiopia and Biafra where he will have to find his way out of troubles without any support.

I wont go into details because of spoilers but would like to say a few things in regard to the Paul Dark.

I have to admit I was a little bit put-
Dave Allan
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up after reading an article in The Times by Jeremy Duns on spy stories and authors. It went at quite a pace and had some good twists. Elements of the story were far fetched (nearly all spy stories are unless a Le Carre or similar calibre author). I enjoyed the setting, time period and general link to realism and facts of the time.

I'm going to read his second novel in the series as I read the first at a pace wanting to see how the plot unfolded.

I'd recommend this as a good spy nove
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 4+ stars book, a really excellent example of the espionage fiction genre, a plausible plot that is full of twists and turns with several last minute ones that I defy most people to see coming. Mr Duns also achieves the remarkable feat of making his protagonist a sympathetic traitor. Very highly recommended, looking forward to reading the other 3 in the series.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Started really well, good premise, sound history and the Biafran War plot and colnial Nigeria was very good but the characters were wooden, the plot got silly and became too much about action became very tiring about two thirds way through.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spy
Audiobook version. A good story, pacy, action and describes 1969 well. First book by the author for me, I will read more.
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book set around some real life events of the 1960 with lots of twists and turns.
Monica L
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-on-cd-read
Good story. Had you guessing what was going to happen to the end.
This was a crazy book. The beginning is almost insane. It started off like various Alistair MacClean [sp ?] novels I have read, but at the end of the first chapter took the most unexpected turn. Completely shocked me so much that I went back and reread it because I could not believe what I had read. I would like to say it was a 'fast read' and held me on the edge of my seat, but after the revelation in the first chapter it really seemed to slow down for me. The course of the entire book takes pl ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cold-war, spies
Well, well. How much did I enjoy this?


Let's see: Spies. The Second World War. Spies. The Cold War. Spies. The 1960's. Spies. Yup! Everything set fair for me to enjoy this one.

And I did.

If I might give you some advice based on my reading of this one; have a good grip on this book right from the start.

For, after just a few pages, there I am, staring blankly at the page I just read, blinking, with my jaw bouncing back up off floor. And I'm wondering; 'The hell happened there?! Did he just...
Gordon Johnston
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good spy thriller set in 1969. Paul Dark is a career spy, but is suspected of being a Russian double agent. A defector in Nigeria has plenty to say - can Dark get to him first? And what is the secret of his wartime romance as a young man - was the pretty nurse an undercover agent?

There is plenty of detail to make this feel real. And Dark is an interesting protagonist - you find yourself conflicted between pulling for him and wondering just who he really is.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting take on the traditional Cold War spy novel. Paul Dark, the slick spy at the center of the novel is a spy for Great Britain in 1969 and, while in the upper ranks of "Five" he is informed that there is a Russian, Communist traitor within the organization. The catch is, that Dark knows the traitor is himself.

As it turns out, the Russians manipulated Dark at the end of WWII into thinking that his own countrymen had killed a Soviet spy-posing-as-nurse that he'd come to love
It's been 25 years since Paul was asked to join the MI6 with his father. Their job was to take down certain Nazi's and keep it on the down low. Paul doesn't just work for MI6, he's actually a double agent worked alongside the KGB. Now, Paul is on the run. Will he be able to outsmart both or will his decisions stomp on him leaving only a pile of dirt?

I found this spy novel to be entertaining. I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites but it's far from horrible. I guess I would say that it's so-so.
Jul 31, 2011 added it
Shelves: physical-book
The story started off well with a good premise and sounded like it would be a good cold war spy novel, but went downhill quickly. I only finished it because it was only 340 pages long and I was hoping it would pick up.

The protagonist, Paul Dark, is a character you never really get to like. He is always doing stupid things but somehow pulls it off by discovering something at the very last moment.. Quite annoying.

Anyway, I don't recommend this to anyone and would probably avoid Jeremy Duns in the
Despite myself, I coudln't help like the plot turns and the resourceful character of Paul Dark. He is in the British intelligence, but has a secret life (spoiler here) working for the Soviet Union from the close of WWII to the 60s when the story takes place as a double agent. Lots of intrigue, double dealing and close calls, and a pretty cynical look at how governments work. Dark's ability to get himself out of scrapes with his wits and bravado is impressive. Language (occasional f-bombs and vio ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Free Agent is a book that makes you want to keep reading. It has levels of suspense about the main character Paul Dark searching for Nazi war criminals to execute. The character is not cold hearted and is actually in love with a woman named Anna. Dark journey through the book is not a simple one. He soon learns that everything he blieves is untrue and puts him on the run from the the KGB and MI6. The book is exciting to read.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
the premise of the story had such great potential however the telling of the story left much to be desired. some of the main details were difficult to follow so it didn't always see, to make sense to me. there were situations in the story where the action could have been really interesting however it was so blandly written and so predictable that it fell flat. a very disappointing read when it could have been so much more. ...more
Tom Tischler
Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Paul Dark joins his father in 1945 as an MI6 agent for Britain.
He and his father are on a top secret mission to hunt down
and unofficially execute Nazi war criminals. Twenty Five years
later he is a seasoned veteran of MI6 but unknown to all over
all these years he has also been with the KGB. This is an
interesting book to read even though there is not a lot of
action it's interesting to see how he remains a double agent
and is never caught.
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Jeremy Duns was born in 1973 and is the author of the acclaimed Paul Dark spy novels. He lives in the Åland islands.

Other books in the series

Paul Dark (4 books)
  • Free Country
  • The Moscow Option
  • Spy Out the Land

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