In 1949, CIA agent Frank Weeks was exposed as a Communist spy and defected to the Soviet Union. A dozen years later, his brother, Simon, a publisher, gets into deep trouble when he travels to Moscow to work on Frank's memoir.
A memoir from "the man who betrayed a generation" is guaranteed to be an international bestseller—even if, as approved by the KGB, it will be full of omissions, half-truths, and fabrications. A born charmer—smart, irreverent, and brilliantly persuasive—Frank has mastered the art of self-preservation. Playing on his younger sibling's love for him, he draws Simon into a dangerous scheme he swears is motivated by a desire to save his wife, Joanna, from her deepening depression. Simon was once involved with Joanna and still has feelings for her. Recruited by Frank as an OSS intelligence analyst during World War II—and forced to resign his subsequent job at the State Department after Frank's cover was blown—Simon now finds himself caught between two worlds. The deeper he's pulled into his brother's orbit, the more he's put in touch with a cold streak of his own. Most of these plot elements will be familiar to readers of John le Carré, Gerald Seymour, and other great spy novelists. But with his remarkable emotional precision and mastery of tone, Kanon transcends the form. In its subtly romanticized treatment of compromised lives, this book is even better than his terrific previous effort, Leaving Berlin (2015).
A blend of Spy vs. Spy and sibling vs. sibling (not since le Carré's A Perfect Spy has there been a family of spooks to rival this one), Kanon reaffirms his status as one of the very best writers in the genre.