Wednesday, January 14, 2015

There Are No Spies by Bill Granger

(hb; 1986: seventh novel in The November Man series)

From the inside flap:

"The time is early March. The place is Lausanne, the Swiss city with a university and a cathedral, an easy place to live. The name is Devereaux, also known as November, the American field officer with ultrasecret R Section who has gone to ground above the shores of Lake Geneva.

"He does not know that a beautiful KGB agent with a talent for murder and making love has been ordered to stalk two Novembers -- and kill them both.

"He does not know that Hanley, the man who has been his control for nineteen years in R Section, has had a nervous breakdown -- and is currently in a government-subsidized asylum for people who have too many secrets.

"He does not know that Hanley's desperate message 'There are no spies' will activate him back into service -- and into a mission to save both his own life and R Section itself.

"And he does not know that zero hour ticks closer for Nutcracker, the top-secret plan to lure the Soviets' master spy into the fold of the West with himself as the designated pawn. When Devereaux emerges, reluctantly, out of concealment, he will find himself alone and betrayed inside an international free-fire zone. Here morality comes, if at all, at the end of the game -- when there is no victory, only the absence of defeat."


Spies is a solid and entertaining -- if sometimes chatty -- read, with plenty of Cold War-conspiratorial action livening up the storyline. It runs a bit long near the end, but it's still worth your time if you can overlook those relatively minor flaws, and if you check it out from the library.


The resulting, better-than-the-book film, The November Man, was released stateside on August 27, 2014. Roger Donaldson directed the film, from a script by Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek.

Pierce Brosnan played Devereaux. Luke Bracey played Mason. Olga Kurylenko played Alice. Bill Smitrovich played Hanley. Amila Terzimehic played Alexa.

Lazar Ristovski played Arkady Federov. Mediha Musliovic played Natalia Ulanova. Eliza Taylor played Sarah. Will Patton, billed as William Patton, played Perry Weinstein. Caterina Scorsone played Celia.

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