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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spy Line

**** Spy Line by Len Deighton. Action/adventure.

I've always enjoyed spy stories, but I don't read all that many of them. As a result, when I run across one by a familiar author, I buy it and don't pay attention to chronology. Spy Line is the 5th in Deighton's Bernard Samson series. I'm pretty sure I read the 4th book, but have no clue about the others.

British secret agent Bernard Samson's life has just become even more dangerous and confusing. Apparently, Spy Line picks up where Spy Hook leaves off, with Bernard on the run in Berlin, suspected of being a double agent.

He starts putting information together from the bits and pieces he learns from various sources, and makes his way home to his girlfriend and children.

Then he discovers it was all a setup, and that it has to do with his wife Fiona, who'd defected to the Soviet Union years earlier.

Spy Line has a nice balance of exciting spy adventure and emotional turmoil. I particularly enjoyed Bernard's mixed emotions regarding Fiona.

Len Deighton's writing isn't quite as obscure as John LeCarre's, but it's not all that straightforward, either. I'm not sure if I think that having to read between the lines a bit fits the subject matter, or if it's just that I'm used to reading spy novels by these two. Still, I think I'd have enjoyed it more if it had been written in a clearer style.

One of these days, I need to make myself a checklist and read these books in order so I get more out of them.

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