The Once and Future Spy

( 7 )

Overview

Robert Littell is a master storyteller of the highest caliber in the ranks of John le Carré, Len Deighton, and Graham Greene. The Once and Future Spy is a tale of espionage and counterespionage that reveals the dirty tricks and dangerous secrets of the subjects Littell knows best—the CIA and American history. When “the Weeder,” an operative at work on a highly sensitive project for “the Company,” encounters an elite group of specialists within the innermost core of the CIA protecting a clandestine plan, the ...

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The Once and Future Spy

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Overview

Robert Littell is a master storyteller of the highest caliber in the ranks of John le Carré, Len Deighton, and Graham Greene. The Once and Future Spy is a tale of espionage and counterespionage that reveals the dirty tricks and dangerous secrets of the subjects Littell knows best—the CIA and American history. When “the Weeder,” an operative at work on a highly sensitive project for “the Company,” encounters an elite group of specialists within the innermost core of the CIA protecting a clandestine plan, the present confronts the past and disturbing moral choices are weighed against a shining patriotic dream. Inventive, imaginative, and relentlessly gripping, The Once and Future Spy is Robert Littell at his most original.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This complex, layered tale of espionage pits members of the CIA against one another in an effort to stop an information leak concerning the construction and deployment of atomic devices. In Washington, Rear Admiral J. Pepper Toothacher is recalled from disgraced retirement to ``walk back the cat''--that is, trace the leak. He is joined by the brilliant but physically repulsive Wanamaker and a mathematical genius-cum-chauffeur named Huxstep. In New York, Silas Sibley, aka the Weeder, also engaged in secret work for the company, tracks phone calls across the nation from his SoHo loft and--in his spare time--indulges a passion for Revolutionary War heroes, particularly one legendary figure he coyly refers to as ``Nate.'' When Toothacher's operation closes in on the leak, the Weeder's world is abruptly shut down, and he, with his erratic but appealing sidekick Snow, takes flight--for reasons he shares with Nate. Littel blends history and espionage inventively, and his dialogue and prose resound with high wit. But the story remains obtuse, the historical subplot something of a giveaway. The result is funny and complex but a little silly. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (May)
Publishers Weekly
Two more of Robert Littell's vintage spy novels are back in print. Set soon after the Cuban missile crisis, Littell's 1986 novel The Sisters has CIA operatives Francis and Carroll (affectionately known to their colleagues as "the sisters of Night and Death") manipulating the KGB's smartest agents as if they're so many puppets. They get "the Potter," former head of the KGB's sleeper agent school, to betray his best prot g , "the Sleeper," sending the Potter on a cross-continent trek to rescue his student with the help of the Sleeper's ex-lover, a mortuary hair stylist. In The Once and Future Spy, originally published in 1990, the CIA plans to discredit the Ayatollah Khomeini in the early 1980s by blowing up the University of Tehran. The mission is threatened when a rogue operative, a proto-computer hacker obsessed with the Revolutionary War traitor Nathan Hale, gets wind of it. These will come as a boon to Littell's fans. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Littell is still hot with the success of his recent title The Company, but this espionage novel dates back to 1990. It tells the story of a deeply hidden group within the CIA, whose secret plans suddenly aren't so secret. The book also has a historical tack as one of the operatives follows an obsession with a figure from American history. If fans of The Company ask for another title, recommend this. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142004050
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 304,242
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Littell was born, raised, and educated in New York. A former Newsweek editor specializing in Soviet affairs, he left journalism in 1970 to write fiction full time. Connoisseurs of the spy novel have elevated Robert Littell to the genre's highest ranks, and Tom Clancy wrote that “if Robert Littell didn’t invent the spy novel, he should have.” He is the author of fifteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Company and Legends, the 2005 L.A. Times Book Award for Best Thriller/Mystery. He currently lives in France.

Good To Know

About his past, Littell told us, "No account of my education would be complete without mentioning my four years in the Navy; I served on board the USS John R. Pierce (DD753) where I was, variously, the ship’s navigator, antisubmarine warfare officer, communications officer and deck watch officer. These years were extremely formative for me."
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    1. Hometown:
      Martel, France
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 8, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Alfred University, 1956

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2003

    Confused about Ending

    Although I found the characters interesting and the book did get better as it went along, I was not, however, interested in the authors use of historical descriptors to provide an insight into the Weeder. I found the ending to be totally confusing. I reread it four or five times and still could not figure it out. Was Huxstep in the bar or on the boat? Somebody Please Explain!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    A guy

    *walks in*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Celia

    Hello?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Jake

    Maybe we shoul move to a bigger result. Cause then we would have more space

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2006

    Bizarre and Convoluted

    'Bizarre' and 'convoluted' aptly describe this spy novel. I chose to read it based on numerous commentators comparing Little to spy greats LeCarre and Deighton. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The style was fanciful as opposed to LeCarre and Deighton's overwhelming realism. The dialogue was trite, contrived and gratuitous, in stark contrast to LeCarre and Deighton's which is used solely to advance the plot. And, the storyline was set in some unrecognizable historical context or era, whereas LeCarre and Deighton's works reference real events and at least can be placed in the proper decade. Wholly disappointed. Justin

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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