Monday, 25 July 2011

Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith

Cold-Served Revenge
review by Maryom

Leo Demidov, ex-MGB operative, now a factory manager, hasn't left his old instincts behind. His wife and daughters are due to travel to New York for a series of concerts performed by Russians and Americans together and on the eve of their departure, he finds himself on edge, suspicious of what might lie behind the trip and of the behaviour of his younger daughter. As things turn out, his fears weren't without cause and his family is torn apart by events. Not willing to trust the official version of events, Leo schemes to find a way of getting to America to track down whoever has brought tragedy upon his family.

Agent 6 is a compelling thriller combined with moving love story, spanning over 20 years. The story traces the relationship of Leo and Raisa Demidov from its beginning in 1950 (before the novel that introduced these characters, Child 44) through the end of Stalinist Russia to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 70s.

Revenge is supposed to be best served cold - if so, then Leo's must be the best there can be! No longer protected and empowered by the MGB Leo is forced into a series of compromises with authority while trying to pursue his own agenda. Although there are tense, nail-biting moments, overall Agent 6 is a long slow-burner of a novel with more emphasis on exploring Leo's state of mind than on action. I did feel that he and his family were real people accidentally caught up in affairs beyond their control and manipulated by the security services of both Russia and America.

Although Agent 6 is the third in a series involving Leo Demidov and his wife Raisa, it's not necessary to have read the earlier novels (I read this before Child 44), the back plot is filled in while not giving away the ending of the earlier books.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Genre - crime, thriller, adult fiction



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