Ignatius, David Reynolds. Agents of Innocence. New York: Norton, 1987.
David Reynolds Ignatius is a journalist who has reported for the Wall Street Journal on subjects ranging from the challenges facing the U.S. steel industry to the corrosive conflicts in the Middle East, to the clandestine activities of the C.I.A. He has subsequently worked as an editor with the Washington Post.
In his one novel, Agents of Innocence, Ignatius has obviously drawn on his thorough knowledge of the contemporary political landscape and the tensions shaping current conflicts. The novel’s main character is Tom Rogers, a C.I.A. operative assigned to Beirut, Lebanon, in 1969. Rogers befriends a Palestinian named Fuad, who is initially enthusiastic about almost everything American. Through Fuad, Rogers gains access to “inside” information about Palestinian intelligence operations, in particular the activities of the Fatah, the main Palestinian guerrilla force. But as the deepening crisis in Palestinian-Israeli relations puts a strain on the relationship between the two men, as well as on their loyalties to their causes, Fuad comes to amore objective estimate of American strengths and limitations. In essence, while he continues to admire American values and American idealism, he comes to regard Americans as well-intentioned bunglers who too often insert themselves into situations that they do not truly understand and who, when things go bad, are too willing to extract themselves, leaving things even worse because of the false hope created by the intervention in the first place.
Jackson, James O. Dzerzhinsky Square. London: Severn, 1986.
Having served as a correspondent in Moscow and other eastern European capitals for the Chicago Tribune and United Press International, Jackson eventually became the bureau chief in Moscow for Time magazine. In his one novel, he has obviously drawn extensively on his personal knowledge of daily life the Eastern Bloc and on his insider’s understanding of Cold War relations between the Eastern Bloc and the West.
Dzerzhinsky Square focuses on the ironic twists and turns in the life of Grigory Nikolayevich Malmudov. Despite his demonstration of considerable courage in battle, he is eventually captured by the Germans during World War II. But, although he manages to survive the horrors of the prisoner-of-war camps, he realizes that if he returns to the Soviet Union, he may be exiled to Siberia or even summarily executed for his “cowardice” in permitting himself to be captured. Nonetheless, he so misses his family that he looks desperately for a safe way to return to his homeland. The American intelligence services offer to provide him with a new identity that will allow him to live without hazard in the Soviet Union but not, of course, to reunite with his family. So Malmudov is transformed into Alexander Nikolayevich Kuznetsov, a Soviet citizen beyond suspicion who happens to be a spy for the Americans. He does provide the Americans with some innocuous intelligence, but he is so terrified of being detected by the KGB that he ultimately volunteers a confession about his activities. And then he is executed.
Kurland, Michael, and Chester Anderson. A Plague of Spies.
Michael Kurland studied at the University of Maryland and at Columbia University. In between, he served for five years with U.S. Army intelligence. Subsequently, he has published about thirty books, including two dozen novels, most of which can be categorized as science fiction, mainstream suspense, or espionage fiction. He has also written a half-dozen nonfiction titles, including The Spymaster’s Handbook (1988) and World Espionage: A Historical Encyclopedia (1993).
Chester Anderson attended the University of Miami and then worked at a variety of ordinary jobs. In the 1960s, he produced several collections of poems and several quirky novels, generally classified as science fiction. One of these, The Butterfly Kid (1967) was a finalist for a Hugo Award. Kurland and Anderson met through their involvement with the literary magazine Crawdaddy, for which Anderson served as the general editor and Anderson served as the managing editor.
A Plague of Spies, their only collaboration, may be better than any work that either has produced individually. Awarded an Edgar Award, the novel focuses on Peter Carthage, an operative employed by an espionage company-for-hire called War, Inc. A large group of paid assassins has gathered at a monastery on the island of Elba (where Napoleon was first exiled). Carthage’’ assignment is to infiltrate the group, to gather intelligence on their employers and plans, and then to devise a means of eliminating them.
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/
National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 14-16: https://academeblog.org/2014/06/18/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-17-19/