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Another Ode to Berlin
on 18 April 2013
Many issues converge in this brilliant spy novel, part 1 of a 2nd trilogy about MI-6 spy Bernard Samson(BS). It reconfirms Len Deighton (LD)'s awesome powers of plotting and portrayal. Readers should enjoy the first trilogy "Game, Set & Match"(GS&M) to make the most of this fourth book about BS. [But any of the nine (9) novels on his spying career can be read as stand-alone thrillers.]
The first trilogy had a cast of a dozen key persons. "Spy Hook" begins in 1987, three years after "GS&M" ended. It is book 1 in a new trilogy called "Hook, Line and Sinker". True fans meet up with some old characters and are introduced to new movers and shakers in BS' murky universe. And some things never change: BS's lazy, younger superior Dicky Cruyer still dumps most of his paperwork in BS's in-tray... But how has he fared, now aged 44, three years on, professionally and domestically, with two children, girlfriend Gloria (now 22), a wife who defected, and himself still under a cloud?
This is the most complex book of the series so far, with BS sent on missions to the US. In between he makes his regular trips to his beloved Berlin, where he grew up and where personal ties and concerns take up a lot of his time. This book is all about an alleged, huge sludge fund... Several people get killed in this book. But one person presumed dead in part 3 does the opposite and returns to the world of the living. When BSs life and work cannot possibly become messier, a second corpse comes to life again. Do not expect quick answers in trilogies, but enjoy superb, colorful writing about spies whose parents go back to WW II.