Posted 20 hours ago

Double Agent: From the bestselling author of Secret Service

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A follow on from last year's "Secret Service", Kate Atkinson is temporarily kidnapped in Venice by a Russian who wants to defect, and promising compromising video of the British PM, as well as evidence that the PM is on Russia's payroll. As with Secret Service, Bradby excels in his portrayal of the interplay of personal and professional relationships in the secret service, reminding me of Len Deighton’s Bernard Samson novels.

The paranoia levels here are very high, although very subtle indeed, and as the plot advances, you find yourself, alongside Kate, having trouble to trust anyone, not knowing what's real and what's not. There were some unanswered questions left in this book, so I'm pleased that there will be a third book, which will be published next year! Kate Henderson is back and she has to deal with a possible defection of a prominent Russian and his family. We are experiencing delays with deliveries to many countries, but in most cases local services have now resumed.The contemporary geopolitical detail is also convincing and the descriptions of the various locales from Venice to London to Moscow and Tbilisi are spot-on and quite evocative and add a further layer of credibility to the story. The operation goes ahead but once again enemies are aware of the plan, and this time their opposition takes the form of a direct threat to Kate and her family. When she arranges a trip to Venice so her kids can briefly visit with their father, she is secretly contacted by Mikhail Borodin, who claims to be seeking to defect. Kate realizes soon enough that everything can be one big chess game the Russians play, with t heir goal of destabilizing the British intelligence agencies.

When we start Stuart has been exiled to Russia, having been discovered to be the Russian agent Viper. This is a fast paced easily read well plotted story that will have you turning in circles to find if we really do have a traitor and will Kate survive the ride.

A similar dichotomy arises too between Kate’s super-spy activities and her concerns for her children.

I love these because Tom Bradby beautifully balances the edge-of-your-seat thriller elements with the spycraft and political infighting. I occasionally lost the plot (in more ways that one) but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to Book 3. Bradby continues to do provide spy craft and frame details while providing CH growth, maintaining a varying Pace, and ramping up the Tone. He never meanders, never wastes time, which allows the story and characters to flow naturally with good pace.The question of whether there is still a high-level traitor remains, and Kate is now offered evidence by Mikhail. It's a silly book really; a good read and with a good pace; but just a little too full of ineptitude.

In his first year in the job he was named Network Presenter of the Year by the Royal Television Society.I should have put it down when the protagonist equates autism and rudeness on the first page, and I regret that I didn't. I found the two aspects distracted from each other rather than enhanced the book and I struggled a bit as a result. This technique creates two problems: firstly it is almost impossible to appreciate the novel without reading the prequel beforehand and, secondly, the plot becomes somewhat drawn-out. Yet the motives of the defector are unclear and key people in the British Establishment are refusing to acknowledge the reality that could be revealed by the defector’s evidence and so drag their feet.

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