A trio of gritty spy yarns featuring British double agent Paul Dark.
Free Agent (first published in the U.S. in 2009) opens with a meeting between veteran agent Dark, who narrates, and the imperious Chief, ostensibly to discuss the dicey Nigerian situation. Instead, their lengthy cat-and-mouse discussion reaches all the way back to World War II, when Chief was in charge and Dark a field operative. Chief has recently discovered that there was a traitor in their midst, perhaps someone still at work. In an instant, Dark shoots him dead and then begins to cover his tracks, an activity that involves both going to Nigeria and remembering Anna, the beautiful Russian lover who attempted to turn him. After assuming that Anna was dead, he learns that she may be alive after all. Song of Treason (published in the U.K. in 2010) opens at the funeral of Chief, who is revealed as Sir Colin Templeton. Dark is delivering a funeral oration and just beginning to breathe easier about his freedom when a gunshot likely meant for Dark kills a colleague standing next to him. The game, so to speak, is afoot. The brand-new Moscow Option offers Dark a chance at redemption. Flashbacks aside, the entire span of the three novels covers but a few months in 1969, the latter installments finding greater depth and resonance in developments of the first. The weight of Duns' historical detail is impressive—each tale includes a lengthy bibliography—and the whole of the trilogy is much greater than the sum of its parts.
The immediacy of Duns' writing grabs and suspends the reader in a beautifully realized heartbeat of recent history.