Free Agent: A Novel [NOOK Book]


"I was transported back to the heyday of spy fiction and . . . the best of le Carré, Deighton, and Forsyth."
-Christopher Reich, author of Rules of Deception

Hailed as "the beginning of a classic series that's sure to be a huge hit" (Gayle Lynds), Free Agent is an intense and relentlessly paced spy thriller that introduces an unforgettable new hero to the canon of espionage literature.

In June 1945, Paul Dark,...

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Free Agent: A Novel

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"I was transported back to the heyday of spy fiction and . . . the best of le Carré, Deighton, and Forsyth."
-Christopher Reich, author of Rules of Deception

Hailed as "the beginning of a classic series that's sure to be a huge hit" (Gayle Lynds), Free Agent is an intense and relentlessly paced spy thriller that introduces an unforgettable new hero to the canon of espionage literature.

In June 1945, Paul Dark, a young MI6 recruit, joined his legendary agent father on a mission to hunt down and execute Nazi war criminals. Twenty-five years later, a defecting KGB officer turns up in Nigeria, leading Dark to the sudden realization that everything he thought he knew about the 1945 operation, about its repercussions and about Anna- the woman he fell in love with during his assignment-was a lie. Now Dark is suspected of being a double agent and must flee to Nigeria to find, confront, and, if necessary, kill the only woman he has ever loved.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set in London and Nigeria during the latter's 1969 civil war with flashbacks to the months after WWII, Duns's terrific debut will draw inevitable comparisons to early John le Carré, though the lead character, turncoat British Secret Service agent Paul Dark, is a complete original. In Nigeria, KGB agent Vladimir Slavin has asked the British for asylum, offering in trade the name of a Soviet mole lodged in the upper echelons of the Secret Service. That mole, we soon learn, is Paul, an ideological victim of youth and notions of revenge, who in 1945 assisted his father, a fellow MI6 operative, in a number of secret missions to hunt down and kill Nazi war criminals. Paul flees to Africa, where he expects to find a former Russian nurse he once loved and whom he once believed long dead. Seldom has a thriller plot taken more unseen turns as Paul searches for the truth about his past and the reality of his present. Readers will eagerly await the sequel. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

In 1970, British agent Paul Dark is called upon to unearth a double agent in MI6. But he is the double agent. Soon he is on the run from both MI6 and the KGB. Disobeying orders, Paul flies to Nigeria in the midst of the Biafran civil war. If he wants to avoid exposure, he must find and kill the woman he loved—and thought had died—25 years years before. VERDICT This debut novel, the first in a trilogy featuring Paul Dark, is superior fiction, with an unexpected twist.—DK

—David Keymer
Kirkus Reviews
Journalist Duns debuts with a thriller offering more spins than a Bolshoi gala, as an MI6 agent combs Nigeria for a lost love who can untangle a labyrinthine scheme devised during World War II. In 1969, Paul Dark is summoned by his boss to discuss a Soviet agent, now in Nigeria. Eager to defect, the Russian has promised he'll finger a British agent turned by Moscow in 1945. Fearing a scandal, the Chief asks Dark to take the case, which involves a nurse who may have blown the cover on Dark's father when he undertook an operation in Germany during the war. Dark listens, then pulls a Luger and dispatches the Chief. Flashbacks reveal that as the war ended Dark's father enlisted him in an operation to kill German SS officers. Pursuing one of them, Dark is stabbed. He recuperates at a hospital where he learns his father has abandoned him, leaving a letter telling him to return to England. Dark falls hard for a woman posing as a nurse who is really a Soviet agent. She tries, unsuccessfully, to turn him for the Russians. Then Dark finds his father, shot in the head. Since the nurse may be the same nurse the chief mentioned, Dark must now find her to unravel the case. Once Dark lands in Nigeria, a puzzle promising complexities worthy of le Carre becomes a colorless tale. Like many a noir hero, Dark is drawn to a mysterious woman in a bar. In this case she is Isabelle Dumont, a writer for Agence France-Presse. He trusts her only after he strip-searches her at gunpoint, then makes love to her. The two embark on a trek involving capture, escape and an assassination plot. Eventually Dark brings MI6 the information they need. His superiors spin matters into one final, dry twist that mocks his sense ofbeing a free agent. The plotting is delectably tricky, but the character of Dark requires more shading before he returns for the promised next episode. Agent: Joe Veltre/Artists Literary Group
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101133125
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/25/2009
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • File size: 307 KB

Meet the Author

Jeremy Duns grew up in Africa and Asia. A graduate of Oxford University, he worked as a journalist in Belgium for several years and now lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Free Agent is his debut novel and the first in a trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2012

    Duns' debut novel scores well by just about any measure. First,

    Duns' debut novel scores well by just about any measure. First, the protagonist, Paul Dark, is very original. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him squirm and try to come to grips with his own sense of morals and/or lack thereof. Often, just as I thought I really had a feel for who Dark is, he'd do or say something to surprise me. Second, as anyone who knows me or who reads my reviews knows, I've read a lot of espionage thrillers over the years, but I don't think that I've ever read one that focused on the Nigerian civil war, a subject about which I knew very little. Thus, Duns' narrative and the ties to history kept me on my toes. I also thought that Duns' did a magnificnet job of capturing the time period. Several times, I thought I'd found an anachronistic error (e.g., a reference to the Concorde) that I promptly looked up and, to my surprise, each time Duns was correct. I don't know if his portrayal of life among diplomats and the press in 1969 Lagos is accurate, but it felt as if Duns knew what he was talking about.

    Finally, I can't help but remark on Duns' writing style and storytelling technique. This is a "serious" espionage novel, more in line with Le Carre than Fleming. But the best comparison that I can find, both for style and technique, is to Adam Hall's Quiller novels. And again, as anyone who knows me or reads my reviews can attest, that is high praise, indeed. Dark is not Quiller and Duns is not Hall, but if you enjoy Quiller than do yourself a favor and give Dark a try.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

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    Bridget's Review

    It's been 25 years since Paul was asked to join the MI6 with his father. Their job was to take down certain Nazi's and keep it on the down low. Paul doesn't just work for MI6, he's actually a double agent worked alongside the KGB. Now, Paul is on the run. Will he be able to outsmart both or will his decisions stomp on him leaving only a pile of dirt?

    I found this spy novel to be entertaining. I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites but it's far from horrible. I guess I would say that it's so-so. If you like the whole double agent angle then this might be a good book to pick up the next time you want to read.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pealing the Onion

    A well-plotted story of treachery involving spies for Britain and Russia, war in Nigeria,suffering throughout. Sometimes the unveiling of the plot left me confused as there were so many layers to unravel, and so much double-dealing. Spy thriller fans will enjoy this book.

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