I read this years ago. Loved it. Stayed with me. Part of the Collier "Spy Master Series". Joseph Hone is an accomplished author and editor worthy of note. This review applies to both the print novel and audible edition. This is a fantastic gritty and realistic espionage genre novel if you can find it. Fortunately and deservedly some of his works are being re-released. A must read on a short list of espionage novels. Note not all his novels are "espionage". Many are. Some are out of print and worth search for. "Goodbye Again" is more of a political mystery thriller for example. Not quite what most people expect, but top flight for realism. Have read most all espionage novels out there. LeCarre, McCarry (a favorite) (read The Last Supper and Lucky Bastard are my favorites by McCarry - the two being quite different. See my reviews under old email/user), Graham Greene, Wm. Hood, and so on. Ambler is of course a favorite. Joseph Hone is up there at the top. Not all of his novels are of the same caliber of the Private Sector, some are more pulpy but I don't think this is. All are worth reading and enjoyable. But some are more profound for the genera. This is one. But I would still recommend reading all of his that you can still find. I enjoyed them all. Much better than the contemporary stuff. I think I have read them all by Hone, but if I ever find a Joseph Hone book I haven't read, I would jump on it. This one is very British (lower grade somewhat naive Irish civil servant pulled into service as a pawn and caught up in (his country's version of) the "wilderness of mirrors" gets an education during the Suez crisis. Yes it is dated but check out the period for a great espionage piece. Things not (nothing is) as they seem, who can be trusted on one's own side, who is the enemy, even friends and lovers are not what they seem, bad judgement by management (did they miss the clues, miss a mole and blow it), how can one know accurately what is really going on (how do we know what we know paradox), cynical reality in the field, your on your own in this mess. I read the book long ago and it is worth reading again, more than once. Still have it. One of those novels you prize and keep in a special place. Have listened to the Audible version recently as well and it was quite good also. Well narrated, good selection in narrator for this piece and genera. A different experience, well and appropriately narrated. So you can benefit from both with a little space-time in between. Appreciated reading it first for the imagery, set up, dialogue, subtlety and nuance, period setting, "office politics" and cynical reality in that wilderness of mirrors, and realistic trade craft, though less conventional in its presentation sort of a back drop which I think adds not detracts from the novel. Look at the paperback from cover with the pyramid - that was designed so long ago. This is in my top 5 or 10 of espionage novels of all time. Great period setting. Still relevant to current events today. Good background to the current conflagration in the Middle East. Just an aside - I found out years latter back when I was a young para in the going though the throes of alert and (tentative) deployment to the 1973 "Yom Kippur" war in the Middle East as the Russians were also setting up deploying their paratroops, while Dr. Kissinger was doing his personal back channel shuttle diplomacy (for which one of the top level CIA CI heads wanted him investigated as a potential Soviet agent/mole, the guy that was the key CIA Mideast Desk analyst/expert with a top level security clearance, likely 'go to guy' for the President on the area, in a crisis like what was happening at the time, was doing the common D.C. wife swapping party circuit, smoking dope and taking psychotropics (read LSD, etc.) frequently, managed to hang on to his security clearance, and mysteriously had a sailboat full of a huge amount of highly sophisticated radio equipment when his body ended up being found floating in the Potomac not far away. Some speculated that it appeared he may have been a double working for the other side and one side or the other whacked him to stop his ex-filtration or due to having exceeded his practical usefulness. See the book "WIDOWS: FOUR AMERICAN SPIES,THE WIVES THEY LEFT BEHIND, AND THE KGB'S CRIPPLING OF AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE (1989)", by William R.; Treto, Susan B. and Trento, Joseph J. Corson (1989). Also a great read.
The Private Sector is carefully set up. Charles McCarry is quoted as saying 'Fast, sophisticated, splendidly authentic, Joseph Hone writes like an angel about devil's work.' This is a very nuanced and subtle novel with a lot of careful setup, dimensions, moods, reflection and introspection, period and political insights, and espionage "office politics" similar (but quite different) to le Carré's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy". A good level of espionage detail which of course is necessary and important, but without being overwhelming. It builds, entwines, and snares. I recommend his others. Particularly "Flowers of the Forest". See also "The Sixth Directorate", "The Oxford Gambit", and "The Valley of the Fox". All by Hone. There are others. When ever you see an old paperback that is part of the Collier "Spy Master Series", many long out of print, give it healthy respect and consideration. Many of those by various authors are top flight Cold War and WWII espionage novels. Collier editors did a great service to its readership to present the best of the espionage genera of this period circa 1950's and 1960's at the height of the Cold War to its readers. (I have expanded and updated this review - Aug 2014.)