Top critical review
One person found this helpful
Not as good as his others
on 7 February 2016
This was a bit heavy going. I've got to like Wilson's novels but this on didn't really cut it for me. It had his trademark twisting plots and characters, Cold War setting and tales of spycraft, with his usual combination of fictional and real life characters. Normally this blend works well but the real life ones were just too prominent in this one, Che Guevara and the Kennedy brothers in particular. Catesby, as a middle level spy enjoys the kind of access a head of state would be proud of. So when Che stops his car to let him in, to find the other occupants are a french spy who has just tried to kill Fidel Castro and the head of the Havana KGB station, to go car surfing down a flooded Malecon, it all begins to feel a bit ridiculous. Add to that the fact that Catesby is having an affair with the latter's wife, which the latter approves of, and Catesby clocked the French lady by chance in a Washington jazz club, it all becomes highly convoluted. Catesby's near death escapes also lack credibility: after escaping a hitman waiting in your hotel room I guess you would casually get a cab and go to a jazz club.
For all that, Wilson still evokes the sense of time and place with his usual flair. And the tensions of the Cuban missile crisis are palpable. But one of his better books this isn't.