Atomsk and Kolymsky Heights : A Comparison

A man who is able to seamlessly blend in with the native cultures of Siberia is sent by the US to infiltrate a hidden Russian base and escape with crucial information on what the Russians are up to. Can you guess the title? If you guessed Kolymsky Heights, you’d be correct. But if you said …

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Quiller and Agents of Influence Podcasts

My regular posts have been a bit more sporadic of late as I've been working on a couple of special projects. First was hosting a two part podcast panel on Spybrary looking at Adam Hall's famous spy creation - Quiller. This resulted in a fair bit of research as I reread a bunch of the …

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In Praise of Adam Hall and Quiller

Over time many authors have sung the praises of the Quiller books. I found authors as varied as a spy novelist who writes from a Christian perspective to a writer of Florida based pulp novels. I found quite a few examples of writers expressing their admiration online. Among them was Shane Black screenwriter of Lethal …

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Broken Covers – Adam Hall

Publishers are always looking to refresh the backlist of authors and sell more copies. In the 70’s the beautiful painted book covers went out of fashion and photo covers came into vogue. The UK publisher Fontana had paperback rights to many of the well known thriller writers of the time like Desmond Bagley, Alastair Maclean, …

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Quick Take reviews – The Bayern Agenda, The Paris Diversion and Mac B., Kid Spy Book 2

I've read a few spy related books recently and thought I'd offer a quick round up of some recent releases. The Bayern Agenda - Dan Moren I've always thought that spies and scifi can be a good fit. By setting your book in the far future you can play with some of the spy tropes without …

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His Secret Sharer: The Hidden Truths of John le Carré – Episode 1

In this episode I provide an introduction to the world's most famous spy writer. John le Carré began writing novels as a way to relieve the boredom of his duties as an upper-class raised British diplomat. That was what the world was told. The reality was that he wrote under a pseudonym; in truth he was a spy for MI6. His ability to live two lives at once was what made him both a successful spy as well as one of the most famous espionage novelists of all time. Much of the research came from Adam Sisman's essential biography of le Carré.
James Olson's book Fair Play was also quite helpful along with the collection of le Carré interviews called Conversations with John le Carré edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman.


First lines – Mick Herron

I highlighted the first lines from Eric Ambler and John le Carré novels awhile back and I thought it would be interesting to do something similar for Mick Herron. Will we see any changes or discover heretofore undiscovered trends? Hard as it was, I tried to stick with just the first sentence, although I couldn’t …

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