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FICTION/Naughtie James
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Spy stories
Suspense fiction
New York, NY : The Overlook Press 2017.
Physical Description
322 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
James Naughtie, 1951- (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Fans of John le Carré and Len Deighton will welcome Naughtie's superior spy thriller, a prequel to 2014's The Madness of July. The characters' struggles between personal and public responsibilities play out against a background rarely used in espionage fiction—the growing unrest in Paris in April 1968. The city is "on the brink of an eruption," as an author's note explains, after Charles de Gaulle's government proves to be unprepared for France's "cauldron of youthful anti-establishment unrest." British operative Will Flemyng, who appeared in the previous book as a government minister, is approached by a German man calling himself Kristof, who quickly gets Will's attention by promising to reveal something very interesting about Will's younger brother, Abel. Kristof's suggestion that Abel is working against the West puts Will in a tough place, as he tries to do his duty to both his country and his kin. Will's juggling act becomes trickier after the body of an American reporter, Grace Quincey, turns up in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Naughtie draws on his experience as a political correspondent for the Washington Post and Britain's the Guardian to make the story's dramatic developments plausible. Agent: Amanda Ridout, Head of Zeus (U.K.). (Jan.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In a prequel to The Madness of July, a bizarre murder of a glamorous journalist—and possible double agent—reveals a web of secrets, and Scottish-American spy Will Fleming’s loyalty to family and friends is tested as never before.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

James Naughtie established himself a “capable and elegant writer” (Wall Street Journal) with his gripping and highly praised debut, The Madness of July. He sets his new, “brilliant spy thriller” (The Guardian) in the feverish atmosphere of Paris, in April of 1968. The cafes are alive with talk of revolution, but for Scottish-American Will Flemyng—a spy working in the British Embassy—the crisis is personal. A few words from a stranger on the metro change his life. His family is threatened with ruin and he now faces the spy’s oldest fear: exposure.Freddy Craven is the hero and mentor Flemyng would trust with his life, but when he is tempted into a dark, Cold War labyrinth, he chooses the dangerous path and plays his game alone. And when glamorous, globe-trotting journalist Grace Quincy, in pursuit of a big story, is found dead in the Père Lachaise cemetery, the question is raised—what side was she on? Certainly she knew too much, and had become dangerous. But to whom? The bizarre murder reveals a web of secrets, and Fleming’s loyalty to family and friends is tested as never before. As the streets of Paris become a smoke-filled battleground, Flemyng, like his friends and enemies, discovers that where secrets are at stake, lives are too. Once again James Naughtie spins an irresistible, intelligent, and page turning thriller.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Will Flemyng’s world is turned upside down in James Naughtie’s stunning prequel to The Madness of July