FAITH by Len Deighton


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 A warmed-over Bernard Samson (Spy Sinker, 1990, etc.) thriller that is sorely lacking violence, action, sex, bad guys, espionage, and high technology. It's the summer of 1987, and British spy Bernard is going through a difficult time. His wife, Fiona (also a secret agent), has just returned from East Germany, where she's spent enough time pretending to have defected that Bernard fell in love with another agent named Gloria, moved in with her, and watched her become the new mother to his and Fiona's prepubescent kids. But a few weeks ago, Fiona returned a hero and Bernard has had to dump Gloria, deal with not having been trusted with the truth of Fiona's mission, and cope with the guilt of the death of Fiona's sister Tessa, which reportedly occurred at the scene of Fiona's return to the West, although there's no body and lots of mystery surrounding who did it and why. Before Bernard has a chance to settle back into a life with Fiona, he's sent on a mission to make contact with a communist agent named Verdi, who London Central tells him wants to defect with passwords to East Germany's newly activated computerized intelligence material. Bernard visits his old East German haunts, gets into a few fistfights (but alas, only one shoot-out--and the bad guys don't even shoot back), sees some old friends, watches Fiona become his boss's right hand, learns of his wife's secret plan to uncover the truth of her sister's disappearance, and hears from Gloria that Fiona is undermining her family in a vicious act of revenge. The scene is set but nothing gets resolved. Bernard learns that Tessa may still be alive and in prison but, so as not to make waves, keeps this detail to himself. Gloria's suspicions about Fiona never get confirmed either way. Bernard successfully brings Verdi to London but then loses him to a sniper, destroying any chance of accessing the opposition's files. With vapid characters, murky plot, and infelicitous descriptions that include ``our footsteps crunching in the gravel like a company of soldiers marching though a bowl of cornflakes,'' this caper leaves you cold. (125,00 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo)

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017622-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994


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