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This review is from: Young Philby: A Novel (Hardcover)
If the infamous traitor Kim Philby, a Soviet "mole" inside the British establishment for almost 30 years, gave a masterclass in avoiding arrest and punishment, then in Young Philby, Robert Littell gives a masterclass in writing a spy story about his early life. This will come as no surprise as Littell, often labelled "the American John Le Carre", has long been recognised as an expert in spy fiction and his magisterial fictional history of the CIA The Company: A Novel of the CIA is a classic of the genre.
Young Philby not only has fascinating subject matter and an authoritative grasp of European history from socialist uprisings in Vienna, through the Spanish Civil War to the rise of Hitlerism and Stalinism, but also shows outstanding narrative technique as Philby's early life is described through the eyes of around a dozen different narrators. This is a short, sharp historical thriller embedded in historical fact, without an ounce of surplus fat on it!