Anna’s evolution from girlfriend to mother to in-house traitor are well drawn. Philby knows the London media world, which brings a strong sense of place and time. There are also flaws. The pacing is lopsided and the first part goes slowly. Anna is given a dangerous and important task but her handler is both elusive and a former lover, which is unlikely; Anna is also self-obsessed and not especially likeable. More espionage and fewer domestic quarrels would have quickened the sometimes choppy narrative. Nonetheless, Philby pulls it off, and shows herself a writer of promise.
This debut by the granddaughter of the double agent Kim Philby is perhaps 50 pages too long, and its heroine is not always convincing — for a journalist, she seems remarkably incurious about what she’s being asked to do. For the most part, though, Philby manages to marry a quasi-spy novel and a psychological thriller with real aplomb.
A page turner full of intrigue and deception...
A compulsive read
The debut novel from Charlotte Philby, whose grandfather, Kim, was the communist double agent who eventually defected to the Soviet Union. So, who better to write a genre-busting spy novel that amps up the tension and will leave you trusting no one?