Email this review


Russians meddling in British politics.

Kate Henderson, a senior officer at MI6, has a borscht bowl of troubles. When her team bugs an oligarch's yacht, they learn that the Russians have co-opted a British politician and that the prime minister is ailing and will soon leave office. Is this disinformation, intentionally leaked to gum up internal British politics? The detail about the prime minister's health is key: No one in Britain has been aware of any issue, and when he unexpectedly resigns for health reasons, the report seems to be confirmed. But as Kate drills down on which politician may be the Kremlin's person, it also becomes clear that there's a mole on her team, and in fact there are potential betrayals swirling all around Kate. Is her boss, Ian Granger, head of the Europe and Russia desk, genuinely doubtful, or is he dismissing her suspicions because he's the mole? Is her husband cheating on her? Is her 15-year-old daughter really having sex with the pierced and tattooed Jed, who is a few years older? And will the MI6 director, known as C, force her to reveal her secret source in the Russian diplomatic corps? Dauntless, Kate slowly unravels the twisted skeins of deceit and betrayal, and though she loses much in the process, she perseveres. If all this seems reminiscent of some of the trials and tribulations of George Smiley, well, it's a new generation.

Old wine in a new glass, slightly past its prime.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8021-4803-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2019


FictionTHE WHITE RUSSIAN by Tom Bradby
by Tom Bradby
FictionMASTER OF RAIN by Tom Bradby
by Tom Bradby