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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Filming locations of John le Carré adaptations

I was recently asked to write about various filming locations used in film adaptions of John le Carré movies by Discovery, the in flight magazine for Cathay Pacific Airlines. It was fun to hit some of the highlights, even if I couldn't touch on of his film adaptations as well as see it translated into …

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Ross Thomas rarities – Brown Paper and Some String and Spies, Thumbsuckers, Etc.

In addition to spies, I'm very much a political junkie. For those who are aware of his work that should make it no surprise that the writer Ross Thomas is one of my favorite authors. Although he rose to prominence with a spy story - his first book The Cold War Swap which he banged …

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Sarrett Circus Commencement Address

I'm always on the hunt for new bits of history or trivia about the Circus. I've made a new find and I think you'll find it to be quite the treat. I was digging through some archives at the library and found one of Control's commencement addresses to the graduates of the Sarrett training camp. …

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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.

Joe Country by Mick Herron – First Impressions Review

In the history of spy novels, Mick Herron’s Slough House is becoming as memorable a location as le Carré’s spy headquarters the Circus. Compared to London Rules, which took off like an out of control car, Joe Country is a more sedate affair. In a narrative shift from previous books, the first pages reveal that not all of our slow horses will be returning to the stable, leaving a sense of impending doom hanging over all the characters.