The Russia House

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Description

“There’s no way out,” he announced with satisfaction, “and no amount of wishful dreaming will produce one. The demon won’t go back in its bottle, the face-off is for ever, the embrace gets tighter and the toys cleverer with every generation, and there’s no such thing for either side as enough security… We may even con ourselves into believing the threat has gone away. It never will. Never, never, never.” Barley Blair is not a Service man: he is a small-time publisher, a self-destructive soul whose only loves are whisky and jazz. But it was Barley who, one drunken night at a dacha in Peredelkino during the Moscow Book Fair, was befriended by a high-ranking Soviet scientist who could be the greatest asset to the West since perestroika began, and made a promise. Nearly a year later, his drunken promise returns to haunt him. A reluctant Barley is quickly trained by British Intelligence and sent to Moscow to liaise with a go-between, the beautiful Katya. Both are lonely and disillusioned. Each is increasingly certain that if the human race is to have any future, all must betray their countries… In his first post-glasnost spy novel, le Carré captures the effect of a slow and uncertain thaw on ordinary people and on the shadowy puppet-masters who command them. ‘Beneath the masterly action pulses a brand new vein of terror… le Carré has achieved clarity of line, splendour of pace’ The Mail on Sunday

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