National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 14-16.

Guild, Nicholas M.  The Summer Soldier.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.

Guild has taught at Clemson University and Ohio State University.  He has written almost a dozen novels, many dealing with espionage.

For The Summer Soldier, Guild received the Ohioana Book Award.  The novel focuses on a retired C.I.A. operative who returns home one day to find his wife murdered.  Years earlier, he had accidentally killed the wife of a KGB operative.  Now that Soviet agent has defected to the U.S., and, not satisfied with the murder of the protagonist’s wife, he begins stalking the protagonist himself.  Although well past his physical and mental prime, the protagonist must draw on the deep wealth of his experience to save himself.  If the shadowy world of intelligence is difficult to navigate when one is on the inside, it poses a much greater challenge to someone now on the outside.

Guild’s other notable novels on espionage-related subjects include The Favor (1981), Chain-Reaction (1983).  In the Favor, an assassin repays a personal debt to an East German agent by extricating the East German’s daughter from an Allied spy sweep.  In Chain-Reaction, an F.B.I. agent pursues a Nazi agent sent to retrieve a Nazi scientist who has infiltrated the team developing the atom bomb.

 

Hamilton, Donald.  The Ambushers.  New York: Fawcett, 1963.

The author of novels in the mystery and Western genres, Donald Hamilton is most known for his long-running series featuring C.I.A. operative Matt Helm.  Helm is often describes as an American knock-off of Ian Fleming’s James Bond, but Hamilton had already produced several of the Helm books before the Bond books appeared.

Although both operatives specialized in counter-espionage assassinations and both seemed irresistible to beautiful young women, there are more differences than similarities between Helms and Bond.  Helm is much more hard-boiled and much more inclined to take on his adversaries hand-to-hand, whereas Bond is much more suave and cosmopolitan and much more inclined to rely on gadgetry.  Interestingly, in his “civilian” life, Helm writes Western novels.  Fascinated by the conquest of the American wilderness, he is himself the embodiment of many of the traits and values associated with the frontier ethos.

The film adaptation of the Helm novels starred Dean Martin, and although they were commercially successful, they did not serve the novels well.  For they were a blatant attempt to imitate the formula of the James Bond films and very much contributed to the general impression that Helm was a Bond wannabe.

In The Ambushers, Helm is assigned to eliminate a Latin American political maverick who could potentially become another Castro.  In the process, Helm gets involved in the pursuit of a major Nazi war criminal and of a black market missile armed with an atomic warhead.

 

Henissart, Paul Henri.  The Winter Spy.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976.

A longtime radio and television correspondent and bureau writer, Henissart had firsthand views of many of the world’s trouble spots in the postwar period.  His first book was Wolves in the City (1971), a nonfiction account of the role of the intelligence services in the ruthless counter-insurgency operations of the French against the Algerian independence movements.  He subsequently published several very creditable novels in the espionage genre.

In Winter Spy, the main character is Colonel Edouard Rappaport, an operative with the Hungarian intelligence service.  Assigned to assassinate an advisor to the American president, Rappaport discovers that his target is actually a double-agent and that the assassination is part of a larger, convoluted scheme to wreck a superpower peace conference.  Very quickly, the hunter becomes the hunted, and Rappaport himself is being pursued by the West German police, the C.I.A., and his own intelligence service.

Henissart’s other novels on espionage-related subjects have included Narrow Exit (1973) and Margin of Error (1980).

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Previous Posts in This Series:

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 1-3: https://academeblog.org/2014/05/30/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-1-3/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 4-5: https://academeblog.org/2014/05/31/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-4-5/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 6-7: https://academeblog.org/2014/06/01/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-6-7/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 8-10: https://academeblog.org/2014/06/04/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-8-10/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 11-13: https://academeblog.org/2014/06/06/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-11-13/

 

32 thoughts on “National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 14-16.

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