Espionage Encyclopedia

Yesterday I blogged about Skinner by Charlie Huston. In the very first chapter, Huston references Eric Ambler, which informs the reader that this is going to be a thriller with a political theme. It’s a nice touch.

I’ve now just finished the brand new All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer. Early on, a lead character is next to a woman reading Len Deighton on a plane. Steinhauer’s plot is not really that much like Deighton’s Berlin Game, but there are some related ideas including a romance/espionage partnership and a key airport crisis. Even chatting with someone on plane who gives up information is rather Deighton-ish. On the other hand, the last page is pure Le Carré.

Good work from Steinhauer. I’ve read the Tourist trilogy and found the characters more interesting than the Jason Bourne “badass assassin” playbook. With All the Old Knives there are no action heroes in sight, and the book is all the better for it. Highly recommended for espionage buffs. 

Hope the movie will be good too.