Free Agent Hardcover – Dec 2009
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|Hardcover, Dec 2009||
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a A wholly engrossing and sophisticated spy novel. Fascinating and compelling.a aWilliam Boyd --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jeremy Duns is British, but currently lives and works in Stockholm. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Comments: Paul Dark is an MI6 agent, has been since World War II and still is now in 1969. Since the War, the various British agencies have found KGB double agents within its ranks and every now and then another one comes to light but it's been years now since they've uncovered any. Now a Russian wants to defect and he says he has information on a British double agent who has been working for the KGB since WWII, that's 24 years of leaking information to the other side! MI6 wants to know who this agent is and Paul finds himself one of the agents whose been around that long and thus, falling under suspicion. Paul starts to find out that his whole life is starting to unravel and as he becomes cornered he decides to fight back.
Set first in London, then quickly moving to Nigeria amidst the fighting of the Civil War in 1969, this is a fast-paced, exciting and shocking thriller. Filled with just the right amount of historical and political information to make the reader knowledgeable without *ever* going overboard into boredom territory. The book has obviously been heavily researched. After reading the final paragraphs of Chapter One it is impossible not to be completely hooked on this book. In fact, I dare you to read *just* the first chapter. With so many twists and turns in the plot one never really knows who the bad guy(s) is or are.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
All characters are styrofoam cut-outs of the genre, with no real depth and nothing to make them stand out in the reader's mind. I found it difficult to recall characters that had disappeared from the story for a while. There were many characters that were so much alike that I couldn't remember which was which was which...
I can't even classify this as a decent diversion. There just isn't anything about this story that causes me to want to read the sequel; and they made no mistake, at the end, in letting us know that this dreadful story would continue.
The book is not thrilling, not mysterious, not suspenseful and when the finale finally arrives its not shocking, not interesting.
I rarely rate a book 1 star as writing a book is a difficult task, but this certainly does not deserve a 3 star (average) rating. Its just a poor outing...
In his debut espionage thriller FREE AGENT, Jeremy Duns gives espionage lovers an action-packed novel with several twists and turns as the boundaries between agent and double agent collide. The first person narrative aligns the reader with Paul Dark, allowing the reader to view the events only through his incomplete knowledge. While this adds an element of suspense, the reader needs more details to feel drawn into the story. The backdrop of the Biafra civil war gives an interesting look into the influence of the superpowers and the intelligence game itself during this period of time. One wishes the author had developed this aspect of the story more both in giving more historical details and simply more space in the current action. In addition, the 1945 background seems a most promising twist on the story, but little background is given throughout the story and most details are saved until the end. As fascinating as the final denouement is, more background to the past throughout the novel would have built up the sense of anticipation as well as the depth of the characters.
FREE AGENT would benefit from more in depth characterization. The characters and their relationships, both personal and professional, feel sketchy. Fast paced, action-filled espionage thrillers are great, but one needs enough characterization to be drawn into caring about the characters in the first place. The surprise ending fascinates with its clever twists and subterfuge, and yet, the lack of characterization leading up to that moment decreases the potential impact of the ending. FREE AGENT would have been a better book with more attention to historical background of the characters and in the scene setting itself. If it makes the book longer, so be it. More atmosphere and characterization would produce a more intense, nail-biting pace because the reader would have had more investment in the characters and the outcome. The author's mention of the Philby background and the historical notes at the end fascinated me, but I would have liked to have seen more of the author's knowledge interwoven into the story itself. Rather than detracting from the story's action, this would have built up the significance of the action.
With his potential complexity and history, Paul Dark has potential as the center of an espionage series. This espionage thriller lover hopes that in future novels, the author will take the time and page count necessary to flesh out the story more so that all those twists and turns have the desired maximum effect. While I enjoyed the non-stop twists and turns and the nods to history, the sketchiness of the novel felt more like an undeveloped outline for a great story to be told.
Our modern world is full of disappointments, failures, heartbreaks, and lost dreams. Good literature is capable of taking readers to a better place. This novel takes us to a worse place.
Reflecting on the story as a whole, it emerges as a rather simple story made longer by a series of rather unnecessary twists and turns that should have been exciting but sadly were not. The last page promises a future return of our "hero" Paul Dark, but I cannot imagine who would be interested. Not recommended, despite the atmospheric cover art.