British agent Joe Wilderness returns in “Lawton’s ongoing recreation of Cold War chicanery . . . one of the great pleasures of modern spy fiction” (Mick Herron, award-winning author of the Slough House series).
It’s London, the swinging sixties, and by all rights, MI6 spy Joe Wilderness should be having as good a time as James Bond. But alas, his postings are more grim than glamorous. In the wake of an embarrassing disaster for MI6 in a divided Berlin, Wilderness is reprimanded with a posting to remote northern Finland under the guise of a cultural exchange program to promote Britain abroad.
Bored by his work, with nothing to spy on, Wilderness strikes a deal with his old KGB pal Kostya to smuggle vodka into the USSR. But there is something fishy about why Kostya has suddenly turned up in Finland—and MI6 intelligence from London points to a connection with cobalt mining in the region, a critical component in the casing of the atomic bomb. Wilderness’s posting is getting more interesting by the minute, but more dangerous too.
Moving from the no-man’s-land of Cold War Finland to the wild days of the Prague Spring, and populated by old friends—including Inspector Troy—and old enemies alike, Hammer to Fall is a gripping tale of deception and skullduggery, of art and politics—a page-turning story of the always-riveting life of the British spy.
“Lawton scores another hit.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A jaw-dropping finale that will leave readers palpitating for more.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A terrific thriller: fun, satisfying, and humane.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Lawton scores another hit with his third Joe Wilderness novel (after 2016's The Unfortunate Englishman). Joe starts off in familiar territory, 1948 Berlin, where he's nominally in the Royal Air Force but in reality an MI6 agent; he's also smuggling coffee and cigarettes into East Berlin. During one of his usual deliveries, he's approached by a young Russian, Konstantin "Kostya" Zolotukhin, who wants to place an order for a hundred jars of peanut butter. Joe agrees, setting in place a relationship with Kostya that re-emerges in 1968 England. As the years pass, Joe's often in trouble with various authorities, until his father-in-law and spy boss, Alec Burne-Jones, decides to get Joe out of the U.K. for a while and sends him to Finland, where Joe takes up his old smuggling habits. Most of Joe's old cronies and even his Berlin lover, Nell Burkhardt, appear, and it's a pleasure for series fans to see them all again. Terrific writing, a complex plot with a twist ending, and a roguish lead will have readers eagerly awaiting his next adventure.
Not even close to the other books in this series. Middle of the book is a snooze fest on Nell. Wasted money on this one