The ever-volatile Middle East provides the setting for this savvy latest from the accomplished TV writer-producer and author of The Slightest Distance (1974) and I Know Your Heart, Marco Polo (1979). Specifically, it’s the fictional kingdom of Kurash (“lodged like a walnut between Syria and Iraq”) to which CIA op Mack Hooper is posted in the late 1950s. The story is told through interviews conducted 40 or so years afterward by (the narrator) his son Terry, with (the now retired) Mack, a handful of his surviving former colleagues, and the woman who may have been his mistress—and also in omniscient dramatizations (based on pieced-together information) of adventures Terry infers his father has probably had. Front and center is Mack’s top-secret relationship with the young playboy king in whose assassination he may or may not have been implicated. Bromell’s skillful handling of this tricky plot produces both a subtly understated thriller and an ironic parody of the intricacy and opacity of the espionage genre itself.
A work of high intelligence, in every sense of the word.