Books by Adam Hall

Released: Dec. 1, 2003

"Now that James Bond has been turned over to the special-effects department, Quiller's last testament, more than any sign short of le Carré's adieux, marks the passing of an era."
Superspy Quiller's 19th and final appearance, which sets him against the most evil man in Russia, might have come out of a time capsule. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

A first for Hall's indefatigable field agent (Quiller Meridian, 1993, etc.): After six weeks of numbing inactivity in the corridors of London, he agrees to let a rogue supervisor run him in a clandestine operation. The operation that Flockhart, the control, has set up is so hush-hush that he can tell neither the Ministry nor Quiller just what it is, only that Quiller's initial goal is to gather information on Pol Pot, whose Khmer Rouge is once again casting an ominous shadow over Kampuchea. Though he doesn't trust Flockhart- -when was the last time Quiller really trusted anybody?—Quiller agrees to run the operation on a need-to-know basis under a total blackout. The mission may be exasperatingly secret, but it's not boring. When his Cambodian contact, Parisian photojournalist Gabrielle Bouchard, points out the minister of defense at a neighboring table in their restaurant, Quiller follows him and kills his would-be assassin from the Khmer Rouge; from then on, it's bam, grunt, moan, as Quiller trades body blows with Khmer Rouge types in standard-issue skirmishes from Phnom Penh to Pouthisat to the darkest jungle. Meantime, he's got the information Flockhart wanted so badly—Pol is seriously ill, and his second-in- command, General Kheng San, is ready to launch a bloody offensive- -and doped out the not-very-subtle reason he was sent into the field: Flockhart was laying the groundwork for a bid to authorize air strikes against Kheng. But when the authorization isn't forthcoming, Quiller refuses to take Kheng out in cold blood (clearly the scenario Flockhart had in mind all along), until a final, foreseeable twist clears the air once and for all. Heavier on superannuated public-school types than on memorable adversaries or adventures, with measured outbursts of violence as mannered as Restoration comedy. Surely Quiller's been out in the field long enough to consider an honorable retirement. Read full book review >
Released: April 24, 1993

A blown rendezvous and a dead British agent in Bucharest send truculent veteran Quiller (Quiller Solitaire, etc.) to Moscow to contact Vladimir Zymyanin, the Russian agent who'd set up the meeting, and to find out the secret that was so vital and so dangerous. Zymyanin agrees to a meeting on the Trans-Siberian Express, but before he can do more than mutter imprecations about a troika of ex- generals aboard the train, he's shot, and Quiller is detained for his murder as the generals helicopter off into the sunset. A suspicious explosion in the generals' former car, however, allows Quiller to escape to the frigid town of Novosibirsk and resume his search for them by shadowing Tanya Rusakova, a clerk who seemed familiar with one of them—and he's right at hand when Tanya fingers former General Gennadi Vichenko to a soldier who kills him. Wanting his remaining targets alive and talking, Quiller promptly takes Tanya under his wing, learns that she and her brother Vadim had sworn private vengeance against Vichenko—a member of Podpolia, the hard-line underground determined to seize control of the former Soviet Union— for executing their father, installs her in a safe house, and learns the next day that she's left the house and walked into a trap. The last of Quiller's rapidly shifting goals, then: to free Tanya from official clutches, flush out the Podpolia plotters, and spike their coup attempt—all before his director's cover is blown or the freelance terrorist who bombed the train can kill his last remaining leads. Tangled and a little murky, but considerably more energetic than any of Quiller's recent outings—the sort of case that suits this morose operator down to the ground. Read full book review >
Released: April 16, 1992

The murder of George Maitland, a cultural attachÇ in Berlin, leads venerable British agent Quiller (Quiller Bamboo, 1991, etc.) to a terrorist plot whose bold simplicity recalls the palmy days of SPECTRE. Figuring that his hapless colleague McCane was gunned down because of his imminent meeting with Maitland's seductively innocent widow Helen—a meeting that would've put McCane on the trail of the Berlin-based terrorist cabal Nemesis—Quiller asks to fill McCane's shoes and complete the mission called Solitaire. And immediately he starts to make his masters sorry they agreed: he clashes with his rule-bound field director Thrower, demands a new director, and uses his tried-and-true cowboy techniques en route to infiltrate Nemesis by posing as an arms dealer to sexual switch-hitter Inge Stoph and maniacally focused Nemesis chief Dieter Klaus. Klaus first tortures Quiller, then accepts his offer to sell him a nuclear device while still planning to kill Quiller at the delivery point. Sounds like Goldfinger, doesn't it?—and the direct comparison Hall risks shows how much more one-dimensional the truculent Quiller is than his more spirited original, and how long in the tooth he's been getting lately. Even the story's one surprise—just what plans does Klaus have for a hijacked jet, an atom bomb, a suicide military squad, and two critical deadlines?—is no surprise at all. Quiller saves the world, of course, though his Sixties tradecraft is wearing thin. Still, this is sturdy, suspenseful entertainment for readers who can park their impatience outside. Read full book review >
Released: June 18, 1991

British superspook Quiller (The Quiller Memorandum, Quiller Barracuda, etc.), weariest of all the sons of Bond, is assigned to protect a potential revolutionary from the Chinese government. The unlikely rabble-rouser is diabetic astrophysicist Dr. Xingyu Baibing, whose charismatic disaffection with the Communists since Tiananmen Square makes him the obvious rallying point for an armed counterrevolution that just might bring democracy to China—and who, expelled from the Party, has sought asylum with British diplomats who are bringing him to Hong Kong. Quiller's assignment: to meet Dr. Xingyu (``the messiah''), spirit him away from the Chinese agents who plan to grab him in Hong Kong (so they can brainwash him and send him back to China to sing a different tune), and smuggle him into Beijing as spokesman for the democratic revolutionaries. Everything that can go wrong does, of course: the operations coordinator is a turncoat; Dr. Xingyu wants to go back when he hears his wife's been arrested; Quiller has to break cover to get insulin in the Tibetan village where Xingyu's insisted on going to ground; and another cadre of free-lance revolutionaries wants to send Xingyu back to Beijing under their sponsorship. Hall's plotting is less intricate than usual, the precisely calibrated dangers little more than a series of riffs. But depressive, sententious Quiller is as good company as ever in this lesser entry in a fine series. Read full book review >