Posts Tagged John le Carre

Spy vs. Spy

Spy vs. Spy

John le CarreWhen the cold war ended and the last spy came in from the cold, it was predicted that the espionage novel would fade with the “duck and cover” films. No longer were we under the constant threat of annihilation – we were finally free from the fear of nuclear war, and our way of life seemed secure. So did the spies created by John le Carré, Frederick Forsyth, and the rest of those who so skillfully managed the genre disappear from the literary scene? The answer is a resounding no. The world, as it turns out, isn’t safe after all.

A new kind of threat emerged and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich was where it was born. A Palestinian group calling themselves Black September took 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team hostage and eventually killed them. Terrorism was born that dark day in Germany, and we have watched it spread throughout the world, eventually landing on our own shores.

Since that time our enemies have taken many names – PLO, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hamas, and now Isis have grabbed the headlines, all state-sponsored terrorist groups with the expressed objective to destroy the West, its allies and its influence. In recent days Isis, a self-declared Islamic State that has seized over a third of Iraq, has boldly executed US trained Iraqi defense forces, destroyed religious sites including Jonah’s tomb, ordered the genital mutilation of all women between the ages of 11 and 46, and ordered all Christians to convert, leave or die.

In a world turned upside down a new breed of thriller writers emerged, establishing a new genre replete with 21st century characters shaped to meet the challenges of this new threat, a threat with a growing arsenal of weapons and tactics each intended to use violence against civilians. Ken Follett, Robert Littell, Robert Ludlum, and Tom Clancy took the lead in introducing us to this new era of thrillers, soon followed by Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and of course, Daniel Silva.

Jason MatthewsJason Matthews, a 33-year veteran of the C.I.A. who “served in multiple overseas locations and engaged in clandestine collection of national-security intelligence” arrived with RED SPARROW, turning his considerable knowledge of espionage into a startling debut.

I AM PILGRIM is the best spy novel I have read in ten years – written by Terry Hayes. The first novel by Hayes, a filmmaker with a huge resume with Mad Max, the Road Warrior, and Beyond Thunderdome to his credit, is sure to follow with many more installments.


American Assassin Matthew PalmerMatthew Palmer is a twenty-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, currently serving as political counselor at the American Embassy in Belgrade. His recent debut, THE AMERICAN MISSION, is a top notch political thrill ride that delves into very complicated world of central African politics.

As a long time fan of the spy novel – Matt Damon was only ten years old when I first read The Bourne Identity – I have followed the genre’s transit to its current form with more than casual observation. The new breed of thriller writer has incredible style, an authentic voice, bringing to life characters that demonstrate reckless courage in the face of overwhelming odds. I can’t wait to see what comes next!


Introducing Diplomat and Author Matthew Palmer

Introducing Diplomat and Author Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer Matthew Palmer is a career diplomat. It is the popular opinion that diplomacy is closely linked to espionage or gathering of intelligence. Embassies are bases for both diplomats and spies, and some diplomats are essentially openly acknowledged spies. For instance, the job of military attachés includes learning as much as possible about the military of the nation to which they are assigned. They do not try to hide this role and, as such, are only invited to events allowed by their hosts, such as military parades or air shows.

There are also deep-cover spies operating in many embassies. These individuals are given fake positions at the embassy, but their main task is to illegally gather intelligence, usually by coordinating spy rings of locals or other spies.

If you like books by John Le Carre, Frederick Forsythe, Oliver North, Daniel Silva, Alan Furst or Vince Flynn – then Matthew Palmer will probably prove quite entertaining.

John Hutchinson
VJ Books
July 2014

David Ignatius’ The Increment is due in May

Bestseller Ignatius (Body of Lies) explores America’s escalating cold war with Iran in a thriller sure to draw comparisons to le Carré’s The Spy Who Came In from the Cold. When Harry Pappas, the new CIA chief of the Iran Operations Division, receives an unsolicited e-mail from an alleged Tehran scientist who calls himself “Dr. Ali” that implies Iran has in fact continued with its nuclear weapons program and is “an imminent threat to global peace,” he shares the information with his superiors only to find an administration bent on warmongering. Having vowed never again to play a role in a senseless conflict that could potentially kill thousands of innocents, Pappas, whose only son was killed while serving in the second Iraq War, must somehow identify Dr. Ali, get him out of Iran and mine his knowledge before the U.S. blunders into another unnecessary war. While the realistic story lines build to a somewhat predictable ending, this remains a page-turner of the highest order.

Order your signed copy of The Increment by David Ignatius at

David Stone – Venetian Judgment

(Publisher’s Weekly, Feb. 16)

At the start of bestseller Stone’s formulaic third thriller to feature CIA “cleaner” Micah Dalton (after The Orpheus Deception), Dalton takes revenge late one night outside Venice’s Piazza San Marco on one of the Serbian thugs responsible for the death of his lover, Cora Vasari. Dalton’s actions result in his becoming involved in the search for a high-level traitor in the CIA’s ranks, who’s believed to be behind the brutal murder of elderly Mildred Durant, an unofficial adviser to an NSA decryption team known as the Glass Cutters, in her London home. Durant worked on the Venona Project, the interception of Soviet cable traffic, during the cold war. It appears Stalin “had a source close to Roosevelt who was never exposed.” While no one will mistake Stone for John le Carré, series fans are sure to root for the unstoppable Dalton, compared at one point to “the newly risen Christ, only blond and not quite so loving, with a bullet scar on one cheek and no intention at all of turning the other.” (Apr.)

Order your signed copy of Venetian Judgment by David Stone at