James Kemp's Reviews > A Young Man's game

A Young Man's game by Paul  Blake
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really liked it
bookshelves: espionage, fiction, owned

A Young Man's Game by Paul Blake is an excellent debut novel with loads of twists and turns as Alec Foster uncovers a plot to assassinate the British PM in Berlin and avoids being picked up by the Berlin police, the Russian SVR and the would-be assassins. It's further complicated by the revelation of a traitor inside MI6 in the Embassy.

Alec is a relic of the cold war, a former field officer, who has been promoted away from what he lived for to a desk job. Personal tragedies have turned him into an alcoholic. So he's out of practice, and very much out of shape when tipped into the maelstrom by the murder of an SVR officer he's meeting.

The brush with death, and the avoidance of being picked up through Berlin, gives Alex time to think, and A Young Man's Game is as much a story of Alex's redemption as it is a modern day espionage thriller. Having cut himself off after losing people he loved Alec realises that he needs people. He revisits old friends from his days as Stefan, the field officer.

A Young Man's Game is set in 2017 Berlin, some of which I recognise from a recent holiday in Berlin. You can follow the action street by street (if you open a map while you are reading you can see the looping and circuitous routes Alec takes to avoid being followed). It's not the clean tourist version of Berlin, there's an underside, and you can really put yourself there in the same as with the classic cold war spy thriller.

The story is properly littered with some red herrings, and also some surprising twists. It's an easy read, and a compelling one. I finished it really quickly, and read the last hundred pages while the TV was on because I wanted to know how it finished. I also want to know whether or not Alec was going to survive it, and whether or not his redemption would last intact. No spoilers though, you need to go read it yourself if you want to know...

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Reading Progress

December 17, 2018 – Started Reading
December 19, 2018 – Shelved
December 19, 2018 – Shelved as: espionage
December 19, 2018 – Shelved as: fiction
December 19, 2018 – Shelved as: owned
December 19, 2018 – Finished Reading

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