National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 17-19.

Hood, William Joseph.  Spy Wednesday.  .New York: Norton, 1986.

A former C.I.A. station chief, Hood first came to attention with his nonfiction book, Mole (1982).  It chronicled Hood’s part in the decision by Soviet operative Pyotr Popov to become a double-agent, the details of the operation which went undetected for seven years, and then the KGB’ discovery of Popov’s deception and his eventual execution for treason.

Four years later, in his novel, Spy Wednesday, Hood attempted to treat the subject of espionage with the same insider’s understanding of what is truth and what is popular myth.  The novel’s main character, Alan Trooper, has resigned from “the Firm,” an unofficial off-shoot of the C.I.A. created in the 1970s to avoid critical congressional oversight of and intense media attention to the agency’s activities.  Trooper is convinced to re-involve himself in intelligence work by the opportunity to determine how the KGB identified one of his colleagues as an operative before killing him.  In the case at hand, which holds the key to the earlier case, Trooper is asked to determine which of two defectors is genuinely seeking asylum and which is a mole.

 

Hoyt, Richard.  Trotsky’s Run.  New York: Morrow, 1982.

After graduating from college, Hoyt served for four years with Army intelligence.  Then, after working as a journalist for several Hawaiian newspapers and as a correspondent for Newsweek, Hoyt taught journalism at the University of Maryland and communications at Lewis and Clark College. Since 1983, he has devoted his energies full-time to his writing.  Hoyt has developed several well-received series of mystery-suspense novels–featuring private detective John Denson, Rolling Stone reporter Jim Quint, and intelligence operative James Burlane.  Although only the Burlane series features a spy as its central character, all of these series include novels whose plots centrally involve espionage.  Given Hoyt’s background in intelligence, this emphasis is hardly surprising.

The first novel in the Burlane series, Trotsky’s Run has been praised for its credibility, intensity, and readability, despite its very intricate plot. Burlane is assigned to bring double-agent Kim Philby out of the Soviet Union.  Philby has learned that the president-elect of the United States is a Soviet plant who has been brainwashed by the KGB.  But the Soviets have not counted on his becoming deranged.  He has become increasingly convinced that he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky and is convinced that he must even the score with Trotsky’s enemies.  As Burlane tries to get to Philby and the truth, the KGB is maneuvering to take out the president-elect in order to keep the whole scheme from being exposed.

 

Hynd, Noel, and Christopher Creighton.  The Khruschev Objective.  New York: Doubleday, 1987.

Noel Hind had written several espionage novels on his own when he was approached by Christopher Creighton to collaborate on a historical novel based on one of the strangest incidents in postwar British history.  In 1956, Khruschev and the Soviet leadership set sail for the United Kingdom on their first official visit to a Western democracy.  While the Soviet ships were at anchor in Portsmouth, a frogman was discovered swimming along the hulls of several of those ships.  The frogman was later identified as Lionel “Buster” Crabbe.  Fourteen months later, Crabbe’s remains washed ashore in Chichester harbor.  No official explanation has ever been offered for this strange sequence of events.

Creighton, who was involved firsthand in the events, was given official clearance to write about them as long as certain sensitive details were not revealed.  So he decided that the easiest way around the necessary gaps in the story that could be told would be to create a fictional frame around the events that would allow for inventive additions of detail.  Of course, this approach also serves to blue the distinctions between fact and fiction, leaving some critics to observe that it essentially reduces all of the factual details to a teasing fiction.  The novel involves high crimes committed for high stakes—blackmail, abduction, and assassination—with the possibility of a third world war hanging on the outcome.

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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/

National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 14-16: https://academeblog.org/2014/06/11/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-14-16/

 

31 thoughts on “National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 17-19.

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