Even though the Cold War is over spies are still playing their games. The British have an agent in the Russian navy, Victor Archenko, codename Ferret. For four years he’s been passing “useful” information to the west. Now the smallest detail casts suspicion on him. When he realises he’s under surveillance he misses his dead drop and decisions are made in London. Is he worth rescuing?
We meet a large cast of characters. Mowbray is a retired British agent who talks of loyalty. Locke is the more modern breed of agent who would rather gain intelligence information by computer. Vasiliev is a young Russian conscript. One very effective section of the book is an interlude in Chechnya where we meet an interrogator called Bikov. (Personally I think there’s potential for a Seymour book based on that section alone.) We also meet four individuals leading very different lives and I won’t spoil their involvement.
We also go to Kaliningrad where the bulk of the action takes place. As in other Seymour books the location is so well drawn that it becomes a character itself and the background of this tiny corner of Russia, separated from the rest of the country by the break up of the Soviet Union, is fascinating.
This novel is a bit more of a thriller than the last one which had little action but a lot of suspense. It’s a very good book and was an enjoyable read but for some reason I didn’t quite care for it as much as the last four books. That’s just a personal opinion when I compare it to something like Holding the Zero. Compared to any other book I read this year I expect I’ll prefer Traitor’s Kiss. That’s how good an author Gerald Seymour is.
On a final note, I really enjoyed the last few pages, told from the point of view of a character that wasn’t even in the book until it ended.