As one of the characters in this enthralling novel remarks, “The Russians play chess, Americans play checkers.” Into this arena, as if into a trap, walks George Thomassy, a brilliant defense attorney coerced into defending a gifted young man accused of murdering America’s most prescient Russian expert just as he is about to finish his major work on the U.S.S.R. Thomassy’s lover, Francine Widmer, an attractive, bright, politically aware woman, understands what Thomassy doesn’t: in this, His greatest trial, watched by the world’s press, his more formidable enemy is his own innocence of the world outside the courtroom, where there are crimes worse than murder. Thomassy, whose skill is winning, faces a decision no lawyer can walk away from.
The Touch of Treason is a multilayered love story, a profound entertainment of acute suspense that we might expect from an American Graham Greene. Its strobelike insights into man, love, crime, and human relationships open up a century that has trapped both its characters and its readers in what surely must be both the best and worst of times. And its excitement, its pace, its surprises are the glorious trappings of a novel rich in characters and ideas.
“His problems insoluble, he concentrated on solving other people’s problems.”
“Weak people reek of deference. Deference shows a deficiency of respect.”