Books by Clive Egleton

PANDORA’S BOX by Clive Egleton
Released: May 1, 2008

"Labyrinthean as always, but only a handful of thriller-meisters can make spy-craft so readable."
While Kennedy and Khrushchev swap unblinking stares, Egleton's entertaining spies double-deal with their usual elan (The Last Refuge, 2005, etc.). Read full book review >
THE LAST REFUGE by Clive Egleton
Released: March 31, 2006

"A spy trying to come in from the cold: not quite as heart-wrenching as le Carré's, but you'll still care."
The occupying force is Russian, the resisters British in this durable thriller by Egleton (A Dying Fall, 2005, etc.), first published in 1972. Read full book review >
THE RENEGADES by Clive Egleton
Released: March 28, 2006

"As usual with Egleton, the plotting is on the cryptic side, but the characters are sharply drawn, and the bureaucratic back-biting will draw enough blood to satisfy expectant fans."
Another fine mess for the weathered warriors of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service to sort out. And if it's hard to tell friends from enemies, what else is new? Read full book review >
A DYING FALL by Clive Egleton
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"Egleton (Cry Havoc, 2003, etc.) has always been able to make quiet heroism engrossing. In Ashby, close kin to le Carré's Smiley, we see an early and interesting example."
Predating superagent Peter Ashton & Co., an entertaining tale by the veteran thrillmeister—first published in 1974 in England—deals with a quixotic attempt to shorten WWII. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 19, 2004

"The Ashton step seems a bit less springy here. Or maybe it's just that the blur of enemies makes it hard for the reader to work up a really good, page-turning hate."
The prolific Egleton pits his Brit superspy against a blur of assorted enemies. Read full book review >
CRY HAVOC by Clive Egleton
Released: Aug. 29, 2003

"Over the course of 31 outings, Egleton has proved that few can make reptilian bureaucratic intrigue as intriguing as he can."
They've kicked him upstairs, sure, but superagent Peter Ashton hasn't lost a step. Read full book review >
ONE MAN RUNNING by Clive Egleton
Released: May 13, 2002

"An old pro (The Honey Trap, 2001, etc.) proves again in his 30th novel what a dab hand he is at starting briskly and getting to the goal fast."
"The high-priced help"—that is, the senior members of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)—are as aggressively alert as ever they were. Never mind that the Soviet Union's defunct and the Cold War officially over; it's turf that has to be protected these days: position, privilege, power. In behalf of the three p's—a fourth, patriotism, has had its day—there's no lie too deplorable, no trick too dirty. Enter superspy Peter Ashton, who suddenly, after long service, finds himself in a desperately exposed condition. SIS had temporarily sent Peter, his wife, and their two children underground to hide them from enemies. But, as Peter well understands, his avowed enemies may be less dangerous than his alleged friends and colleagues. When the safe, secret house the Ashtons were about to move into is blown up, their carefully created cover is destroyed along with it. Peter wants to know "which murderous lot is stalking me—the IRA, the Provisional IRA, the Continuity IRA, the Real IRA or the Irish National Liberation Army." But no one will talk to him. The high-priced help has put out the word, and Peter discovers he's not yet eligible to come in from the cold. That's most unfortunate, since the other thing Peter wants to know is who in SIS is his own personal mole. Read full book review >
THE HONEY TRAP by Clive Egleton
Released: April 1, 2001

"Sharply observed, entertainingly set down: Egleton has served his time in those bureaucratic trenches, and does it ever show."
Internecine war continues to rage as Egleton delivers his 29th adventure chronicling the secret life of the Secret Intelligence Service (Dead Reckoning, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
DEAD RECKONING by Clive Egleton
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

It's the intramural intrigue that's the most fun in this bristling, post-Soviet spy novel from prolific Egleton (Blood Money, 1998, etc.) Peter Ashton, that nonpareil among clandestine folk, receives a terrible jolt as the story gets underway: His wife is dead, he's told by his boss, Victor Hazelwood, Director General of England's Secret Intelligence Service. Murdered, Hazelwood says'shot to death in her doctor's office. That Harriet, whom Peter loves to distraction, turns out to be very much alive both relieves and unsettles him further. Someone or something has penetrated SIS security deeply enough to gather a good deal of information that should have been absolutely unavailable. And why Harriet? Before long Peter learns that Harriet's file is only one of many that have suddenly become all too accessible. Has a mole burrowed its debilitating way into SIS? If so, whose mole—the Iraqis," the IRA's? Charged by Hazelwood to find out, Peter is hampered in his investigation by the agency's tireless infighting and incessant jockeying for position. Jill Sheridan, for instance, as brilliant as she is glacial, yearns to be the first female Director General. Fixated, she views the whole of life's processional through ambition's prism. Hazelwood himself has an agenda so arcane that Peter can only guess wildly at the items on it. But though ancient grudges and shifting alliances may slow him down, nothing can block the indomitable Peter indefinitely. Answers he wants, answers he goes for—a quest that takes him to ports of call all over the world. He asks the pertinent questions, breaks the odd, obdurate head, plugs some pernicious holes, and in the end, thanks to him, SIS's sense of security is no longer the false thing it was. Overcomplicated, of course—this is Egleton, after all—but the action is brisk, the characters sharply drawn, and only le CarrÇ does bureaucratic backbiting better. Read full book review >
BLOOD MONEY by Clive Egleton
Released: Aug. 13, 1998

British Intelligence operative Peter Ashton returns in Egleton's (Warning Shot, 1997) 27th high-tech, fact-laden international thriller filled with credible and complex characters in steady, steel-plated sentences. Three SIS agents have been murdered in a safe house when Ashton returns from Washington to find his wife Harriet deep into the police investigation of the triple murder (which she discovered). Ashton, who's been sent to Russia once too often, is no longer with SIS and works for the DG only on a freelance basis from time to time. Clearly, Ashton realizes, Harriet, who still works for SIS, is next on the killers' hit list. To protect his wife, Ashton joins the search for them, although SIS itself is undergoing earthquakes in its upper management and seems almost fatally disrupted. As for the slayings, are Cuban gangsters the culprits? Or perhaps Islamic terrorists? Meanwhile, a very strong lead goes straight to Ashton's fabulous old enemy Pavel Treliser, chief of Russian Intelligence. Egleton, with extensive personal experience in the intelligence field, knows firsthand the bureaucratic infighting of which he writes, and has a whole tin of red herrings here to help him out. Edgy, indeed paranoid spy stuff. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

Though finally separated from Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, hard-to-handle agent Peter Ashton (Death Throes, 1995, etc.) is now recalled to duty by his erstwhile masters to investigate a seemingly simple case that soon turns complicated. When a British Army captain who was being vetted for a computer post with SIS goes missing, his would-be employer assigns Ashton to make discreet inquiries. Any hopes of a quiet probe are immediately dashed by the bizarre murder of a retired major known to have had a youthful homosexual fling at a Swiss ski resort with the AWOL officer. Following background checks on the presumptive principals, Ashton determines that the ultimate answers to his questions lie in Hong Kong, where the military men in question were stationed together during the Vietnam War. Once in the Crown Colony (a restive venue on the eve of its return to mainland China), the boat-rocking operative turns over one rock too many and is nearly gunned down in a Triad ambush that takes the life of an Aussie colleague. On the evidence of a crooked inquest that hushed up the suspicious death of a young American woman more than two decades earlier, however, Ashton discovers a CIA link that puts him on a twisty trail to the US. The body count ratchets up a half dozen more notches before the relentless sleuth can get to the bottom of a long-lived plot hatched by an unreconstructed cold warrior who, despite the collapse of the Socialist Bloc, remains hell-bent on equipping any breakaway regime that will take arms against the hated Russians. Another of Egleton's complex but solid espionage procedurals. Here, the mysteries are revealed with edgy ambiance (courtesy of the professional paranoia induced by downsizing democracies) in much the same way as one peels away an onion's layers to reach the pearl at the center. Read full book review >
DEATH THROES by Clive Egleton
Released: April 20, 1995

Her Majesty's agent Peter Ashton (A Killing in Moscow, 1994, etc.) returns for more invigorating, albeit confusing, Eastern European derring-do. Who is Valentin? British intelligence types have been asking this question since 1967, when Val first surfaced with the goods on an unchecked epidemic in the Soviet Union. Now, Valentin wants to meet Ashton to turn over some as-yet-unspecified super-secret stuff—but Ashton isn't buying, at least until he finds out what the informant is selling. Meanwhile, in Germany, Jochaim Wolff, a prominent neo-Nazi is plugged by a gunman known as ``The Englishman.'' The assassin, whose real name is Martin Nicholson, is one ruthless guy, so both the Nazis and legitimate authorities would love to ask him a few questions. Eventually, Nicholson surrenders to the English in Germany, not so much out of national pride, but to escape captors not bound by the usual prisoner ethics code, or by the uncertainties of the German penal system. Soon after, he begins to sing like a chorine in a Gilbert and Sullivan production. It seems that Nicholson was hired for the gig by a Russian who was doing a favor for a friend in the German police. The Germans wanted Wolff dead, but didn't want it traced to them. Naturally, this Russian is our Valentin. But why did he rat Nicholson out? To get to the bottom of it all, Ashton wings back to Moscow, where he arranges to meet with Valentin in person, but on the way to the rendezvous, a gunfight ensues, and Ashton is imprisoned by Russian authorities and questioned. Lamentably, even these 11 weeks of interrogation tell the Russians precious little about Valentin, Nicholson, the Nazis, or any of the other byzantine plot twists. We the readers, however, get even less—thanks to 300-plus deftly written, occasionally humorous, but confounding-to-the- point-of-distraction pages. Read full book review >
A KILLING IN MOSCOW by Clive Egleton
Released: Aug. 19, 1994

A convincing and muscular thriller that needs every sinew to bear its often weighty prose. The murder of an English businessman in one of Moscow's hard- currency hotels draws agent Peter Ashton (Hostile Intent, 1993) yet again into a web of le CarrÇesque intrigue. PostCold War Moscow is awash with nogoodniks out to make a buck, among them some rogue KGB operatives working in cahoots with Mafiozniki, whom Ashton manages to run afoul of after uncovering the possibility of deeper significance to the Englishman's death. He ferrets out Elena Adrianova, a KGB plant working as a secretary in the British embassy, and tries to coerce information from her by promising her continued employment. Adrianova, whose modest pound-sterling salary is a fortune in rubles, reluctantly furnishes Ashton with some information, holding back the real goods until she is given a more solid guarantee of safety for herself and her family. Naturally, the higher-ups at the embassy don't fancy keeping a spy in their employ, so they cut the cord with Adrianova, who, deprived of protection, gets a severe going-over by some local toughs. Back in England, Ashton is busy trying to fit together the pieces of this puzzle, which might involve the murdered businessman in a scheme to siphon arms and other war material to Serbian irregulars in the former Yugoslavia. He's not too busy, however, to put the moves on his foxy assistant, Harriet Egan, in a curious, tacked-on romantic subplot. Ashton is forced to do an immense amount of legwork to lay bare the ties binding the Russkies, some shifty Brits, and an American oil tycoon to this arms-for-cash plot. Egleton nicely depicts the bureaucratic minefield and sea of red herrings confronting his hero, but he often strands readers in passages containing enough acronyms and jargon to require a glossary. Read full book review >
HOSTILE INTENT by Clive Egleton
Released: June 10, 1993

Armament-heavy spycraft as British Military Intelligence tries to unravel the murder of an agent in Dresden, apparently by Neo- Nazis, while the blood flows. Typical Egleton (A Double Deception, Last Act, etc.) and neither better nor worse than his usual fruitcake of falling bodies mixed with broken nutshells of military specs—not to mention paragraphs stuffed with acronyms, hardware, exotic place names, ranking within military castes and intelligence services. The story here, laid out in three acts, starts in Dresden when British intelligence agent Captain Robert Whittle meets with Starshii Leitenant Gulina Kutuzova of the GRU to trade consumer goods and $200 for Gulina's low-grade info on Red Army units. Following the meet, Whittle dies in a car bomb explosion—a Neo-Nazi rally is being held at the same time—while Gulina disappears. Has she defected? If so, where to? Although Whittle's death is of only passing interest to the newspapers, MI5 feels morally obliged to get to the bottom of the event and assigns dependable agent Peter Ashton to find Gulina, the last person to have seen Whittle alive. Gulina's only real tie with another human being is with her mother Lydia, and Ashton sets off for Leningrad and Moscow to track down Lydia. But Americanski-speaking Gulina has fled by Swiss-Air to Montreal and hence hiphopped to Las Vegas, where she has reluctantly allowed herself to be taken under the wing of an athletic lesbian—a financial wizard who knows how to beat the wheel. Along with Ashton and American agent Tony Zale, Red Army agents are hot on her heels. The McGuffin has to do with a breakaway maverick unit within the Red Army, which has planted a string of atomic land mines in East Germany to protect the former USSR from invasion by the new GDR. Pages greased with Cosmoline, mentally quite slippery and hard to hang onto. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1992

Heroism and betrayal in wartime Warsaw haunt late 60's London- -in the latest thriller from Egleton, who previously paired England and Poland in Last Act (1991). The hitherto largely tidy life and career of British intelligence officer Campbell Parker begins to grow disorganized with the arrival in his office of beautiful, Polish-American businesswoman Stephanie Ayres. Ms. Ayres has taken advantage of a London assignment in order to search for her late mother's brother Andrew Korwin—the last survivor of an aristocratic Warsaw family who went missing in the chaos of wartime Poland after heroic resistance work. Now, the private investigator she hired to help with the search has gone missing, as has the mysterious German who tipped her to the news of her uncle's existence. In fact, all leads on Uncle Andrew have gone to ground or run up against official roadblocks. Parker is able to use his Foreign Office connections to pick up the trail and finds that Andrew Korwin is now Arthur Kershaw, prosperous co-owner of a high-tech firm on the fringe of the arms trade. Parker's good deed gets him nothing but trouble. Her Majesty's intelligence service would have been much happier if Mr. Kershaw had been left alone; Miss Ayres, with whom Parker has become smitten, is clearly not just a businesswoman; a gang of assassins has just missed executing Kershaw's business partner in Spain, where he was working a shady arms deal; a tough customer is on his way to the UK from East Germany to settle some WW II debts incurred by Uncle Andrew\Arthur; and Parker is very much in the way. Mostly satisfying. The clever characters, scenes of bureaucratic warfare, and the romantic setup are more attractive and of greater interest than the rather frantic plot. Read full book review >
LAST ACT by Clive Egleton
Released: July 24, 1991

The suicide of a Polish expatriate in mid-century London leads to an investigation of treachery and heroism during the WW II Warsaw uprising, and then to past-Nazi nastiness in sunny California, in this latest from the prolific Egleton (A Different Drummer, etc.). The body of Polish resistance hero Stefan Zagorski, plus its attached 50-pound bag of cement that dropped through the roof of a stolen convertible, did more than interrupt the coitus of the parked pair of London lowlifes. Mr. Zagorski's pocket contained an envelope addressed to one Michael Kimber in Salisbury, with a letter accusing Mr. Kimber, among others, of betrayal just before the Russian takeover of Poland. The guiltless Kimber, now an employee of Britain's military-intelligence office, is ordered to nip off to Germany to find out what Zagorski had on his mind and to clean up any mess before the Americans, already unhappy about Burgess, Maclean, and Philby, get the idea that they have something new to worry about with their cousins. Kimber's inquiries concentrate on the beautiful Polish woman with whom he worked during the war, as well as on a handful of greedy, art-snatching Nazis who knew more than they should have about the leadership of the resistance. Odd. The people he questions seem to die ghastly deaths soon after he visits them, which is disconcerting for Kimber. Harrowing scenes of wartime Poland, together with Egleton's complex and credible characters, are for the most part enough to atone for an exasperatingly muddled plot. Read full book review >