Mark Mills, bestselling author of Amagansett, The Savage Garden, and The Information Officer, is renowned for blending riveting history, rich atmosphere, and thrilling suspense. Now, in House of the Hunted, Mills deftly unfolds a story of betrayal, love, and the inescapable pull of the past as an ex-spy finds himself drawn back into his treacherous former life.
Côte d’Azur, France, 1935: As Europe moves inexorably toward war, Tom Nash feels pleasantly removed, pursuing a quiet writing career on an idyllic stretch of the French Riveria. A former intelligence operative for the British government, Tom now finds refuge among the lively seaside community of expats and artists, hoping to put the worst deeds from his job—and memories of the woman he once loved—far behind him. But Tom’s peaceful existence is shattered when an unknown hit man tries to kill him in his sleep. Tom is sure that somebody knows his secrets, and that this attempt on his life won’t be the last.
Relying on his instincts for self-preservation, Tom suspects everyone of double-dealing, even people he considers his friends: the Russian art dealers from Paris, the exiled German dissidents, even his former boss and closest confidant. And as he plunges further into his haunted past, Tom feels himself turning into the person he used to be—a dangerous man, capable of anything.
Combining vividly drawn characters and gripping acts of espionage, House of the Hunted is a superbly crafted novel by an exceptional and versatile storyteller.
Praise for House of the Hunted
“Suspenseful and romantic . . . reminiscent of some of the best spy novels of the past.”—CNN
“A wild-fire hybrid of John le Carré and Ernest Hemingway . . . an excellent read for those who enjoy both espionage and literary thrillers.”—Bookreporter
“[Mark] Mills is a polished stylist with a singular talent for capturing the defining moment when something precious is about to be lost forever.”—The New York Times Book Review
“This is bloody brilliant. . . . A masterpiece of espionage fiction that fully thrills, while evoking a time and place with the assurance of Alan Furst’s forays into prewar Europe. This novel is beautifully crafted, breathless, and immensely satisfying.”—Olen Steinhauer, New York Times bestselling author of The Tourist and The Nearest Exit
“Explosive . . . a terse, carefully plotted journey [that will] have you guessing until the very end.”—Oprah.com
“Mesmerizing . . . [Mills’s] best work in an already accomplished career.”—The Independent
Set in 1935, Mills's genial suspense novel stars Tom Nash, a former SIS operative haunted by his past, particularly a tragic encounter involving his lover, Irina Bibikov, in Russia in 1919. Now a writer, Nash is enjoying a well-heeled expatriate life on the French Riviera, surrounded by a large supporting cast, including his longtime spymaster, Leonard Pike; Pike's 20-something daughter and Nash's goddaughter, Lucy; and White Russian migr s Yevgeny and Fanya Martynov, who run a Paris art gallery. An unsuccessful attempt on Nash's life jolts him out of this idyll, forcing him to resuscitate his spy skills and question the loyalty of those around him. The undercurrent of threat to Nash, coupled with the harbingers of the coming war in Europe, is at odds with the lovely foreground setting, as if Mills (Amagansett) can't decide whether he's writing a historical soap opera or a thriller. Pleasing prose and convincing period detail compensate only in part for a sluggish plot.