Mick Herron, “the le Carré of the future” (BBC), expands his world of bad spies with an even shadier cast of characters: the politicians, lobbyists, and misinformation agents pulling the levers of government policy.
“Confirms Mick Herron as the best spy novelist now working.”—NPR's Fresh Air
Now an Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.
In London's MI5 headquarters a scandal is brewing that could disgrace the entire intelligence community. The Downing Street superforecaster—a specialist who advises the Prime Minister's office on how policy is likely to be received by the electorate—has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, who was once head of MI5, has been tasked with tracking her down.
But the trail leads him straight back to Regent's Park itself, with First Desk Diana Taverner as chief suspect. Has Taverner overplayed her hand at last? Meanwhile, her Russian counterpart, Moscow intelligence's First Desk, has cheekily showed up in London and shaken off his escort. Are the two unfortunate events connected?
Over at Slough House, where Jackson Lamb presides over some of MI5's most embittered demoted agents, the slow horses are doing what they do best, and adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation . . .
There are bad actors everywhere, and they usually get their comeuppance before the credits roll. But politics is a dirty business, and in a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing are the norm, sometimes the good guys can find themselves outgunned.
The disappearance of Sophie de Greer, a "superforecaster" who predicts voter reactions to British government policies, drives Herron's terrific eighth Slough House novel (after 2021's Slow Horses). Since de Greer might be a Russian plant, two important people want her found: Anthony Sparrow, the prime minister's slimy enforcer, because he hired de Greer and wants to spare the government humiliation, and Diane Taverner, MI5's ruthless chief, because she knows Sparrow will blame her if de Greer turns out to be a spy. The actual work of finding de Greer falls to the so-called slow horses of Slough House, "the fleapit to which Regent's Park consigns failures, and where would-be stars of the British security service are living out the aftermath of their professional errors." Every piece counts in the intricate jigsaw puzzle of a plot, but the book's main strength is its dry, acerbic wit (Sparrow is "a homegrown Napoleon: nasty, British and short"). The result is an outstanding mix of arch humor, superb characterizations, and trenchant political observations. The forthcoming Apple TV adaptation of the series is sure to win Herron new fans.
Fast-moving and witty, most entertaining book in the series !
Terrific. Best of its kind.
8 in three weeks!
Once starting the Slow Horse series in early January, I just couldn’t stop! The characters, their dialog, the exciting espionage scenarios all make for a wonderful ride around London “secret” world of MI5. You want to read quickly because of the action, but you actually read slower to savor the humor, sarcasm, and Britishness. Can’t wait til the ninth book is out.