A British agent is drawn to Berlin’s bridge of spies in this “superlative Cold War espionage story” from the author of the acclaimed Inspector Troy Novels (The Seattle Times).
It’s the summer of 1961, and the inscrutable Khrushchev is developing plans for something that could change the course of the Cold War. As he and Kennedy gamble with the fate of millions of lives, Cockney East-Ender-turned-spy Joe Wilderness is thrust into the conflict. Enlisted by MI6 to set up shop in Berlin, Wilderness returns to the city where he spent his postwar years, where a former paramour is under threat, and where the dividing line between the West and the Soviets will soon be crossed.
As the Russians start building the wall, two agents find themselves trapped on opposing sides: an unfortunate Englishman in the Lubyanka in Moscow, and a KGB operative in London’s Wormwood Scrubs. Now, Wilderness has a new mission: Swap the prisoners on Berlin’s bridge of spies. But, as a former black marketer, Wilderness is also working a personal angle—just to make it interesting, just to make it profitable, just to make it a little more dangerous. What can possibly go wrong?
Named by the Daily Telegraph as one of “50 Crime Writers to Read before You Die,” John Lawton is “quite possibly the best historical novelist we have” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
“[The Joe Wilderness novels] are meticulously researched, tautly plotted, historical thrillers in the mold of . . . Alan Furst, Phillip Kerr, Eric Ambler, David Downing and Joseph Kanon.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Rich, inventive, surprising, informed, bawdy, cynical, heartbreaking and hilarious. However much you know about postwar Berlin, Lawton will take you deeper into its people, conflicts and courage. . . . Spy fiction at its best.” —The Washington Post
Good not great
The first book in the series was better