'Compulsively readable' Observer
An ex British spy finds himself dragged back into the world of espionage after a mysterious plane crash...
Robert Harland ended his career as a British spy in an Austrian hospital, after being tortured and beaten by Czech security agents in the last days of the communist regime. He was young enough then to find a new life with the Red Cross and then with the UN.
Twelve years later his UN plane crashes in mysterious circumstances at La Guardia airport, New York and Harland is the only survivor. Was it sabotage and, if so, was Harland the target?
It is soon clear to Harland that the answers are to be found in his past, a past which, along with its secrets and tradecraft, he has desperately tried to forget. And now the crash has thrown him back into a world of relentless intrigue and mistrust, to his youth, and a life-changing love affair...
The mysterious crash of a private UN plane at New York's La Guardia airport gets this second spy novel by British author Porter (Remembrance Day) off to a rousing start. The only survivor is former British spy Robert Harland, who wakes up to find himself floating in the freezing East River. Harland, once an MI6 rising star, is now a water specialist for the United Nations, doing good and honorable work for a change. After he survives the crash of the U.N. plane, he is suddenly the target of harassment, threats, assault; then somebody tries to kill him. When a nervous young man named Tomas Rath shows up, claiming to be Harland's son, the ex-spy finds himself caught up in a multigovernment dragnet intended to plug intelligence leaks, a grisly expos of a brutal Bosnian war criminal and a confrontation with a painful piece of his past he would prefer to forget. While being hounded by Walter Vigo, a ruthless British spymaster, Harland tries to unravel the mystery of his son, his former Czech lover and the elusive Lipnik, a Serb mass murderer thought to be dead, but actually very much alive and under the odd protection of several Western powers. This is a spy yarn full of suspense, action, unexpected plot twists and the fascinating detail of covert spy operations where everyone is a liar, even the good guys. Porter has the deft touch of a spy handler, manipulating the plot with skill and never letting up on the risk, tension and uncertainty that come with intelligence activity and danger. would help him build his rep here, but spy novel aficionados should find their way to his work regardless.