Spy vs. Spy

February 11, 2015 at 7:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I’ve already sung the praises of Ed Brubaker in this blog, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t do it again. Brubaker is writing a couple of books I’m reading right now: The Fade Out, a noir tale set in 50s Hollywood, and Velvet a spy story which starts from the premise imagine Miss Moneypenny was James Bond (oh, and looked a bit like Susan Sontag). Great story.

like Brubaker’s other books, Velvet has a related essay on sources in the back. A few issues ago, Jesse Nevins, the author of said essays wrote about the evolution of spy fiction. While most people associate spy fiction with Fleming’s James Bond stories, Irvins directed readers to  the work of Len Deighton and John Le Carre.

Deighton’s Harry Palmer, Nevins argued was essentially mystery fiction moved to a level of international intrigue. nothing wrong with that, but he also suggested Le Carre’s universe of George Smiley was fairly close to the mark. A little research and I checked The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

It’s really quite a fantastic book, and the level of cynicism is amazing. In the work, which revolves around a plot to kill a high-ranking security officer in East Germany, the communists are ruthless, cold-blooded killer, but the “heroes” are no better. Happy to cast aside those who could be sacrificed for those, however nasty, who could be useful.  I raced through the book, then read The Looking Glass War, and am now on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, the first of the Karla novels.

Grubby, compelling stuff.


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