The immediacy of Duns' writing grabs and suspends the reader in a beautifully realized heartbeat of recent history.”
Praise for Free Agent:
“Duns’ tightly coiled plot recalls the paranoia of Len Deighton’s early works and the tension of Adam Hall’s Quiller novels.”
“Nothing like a return to the Cold War for a hot summer day.”
—New York Post
“Duns’ debut is being called ‘reminiscent’ of John le Carré’s Cold War spy thrillers.”
“Seldom has a thriller plot taken more unseen turns…Readers will eagerly await the sequel.”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“This debut novel [Free Agent], the first in a trilogy featuring Paul Dark, is superior fiction, with an unexpected twist.”
“A diabolically clever novel that will keep you guessing until the final moments.”
“A sleek, fast-paced tale of espionage and international intrigue that held me utterly entranced. Duns is an exceptional talent. As I rapidly turned the pages I was transported back to the heyday of spy fiction and reminded of the best of le Carré, Deighton and Forsyth. Recommended without reservation.
—Christopher Reich, author of Rules of Deception
“Terse, sardonic and knowing, Free Agent is a take-no-prisoners exploration of loyalty, duplicity and love. I dare anyone to put this book down after reading the first electrifying chapter.”
—Eric von Lustbader, author of First Daughter
Praise for Song of Treason:
“With its subtlty deployed late-60s detail, [Song of Treason] is a treat for fans of traditional Len Deighton-style spy thrillers.”
—The Guardian (London)
“A cleverly twisted tale of intrigue and deception, this is a masterly excursion back to the bad old days of the Cold War.”
—The Times (London)
“An homage to the morally ambiguous Sixties thrillers of le Carré and Deighton…nuanced to the hilt.”
—The Telegraph (London)
Collecting the three novels starring MI6 double agent/antihero Paul Dark, Duns's trilogy features relentless action that spans several decades and continents. Free Agent, the first and best of the series, opens with Dark shooting his chief in the head during his regular briefing, setting the tone for the stories to come. This is riveting Cold War espionage told at a breakneck pace.
A trio of gritty spy yarns featuring British double agent Paul Dark. Free Agent (first published in the U.S. in 2009) opens with a meeting between veteran agent Dark, who narrates, and the imperious Chief, ostensibly to discuss the dicey Nigerian situation. Instead, their lengthy cat-and-mouse discussion reaches all the way back to World War II, when Chief was in charge and Dark a field operative. Chief has recently discovered that there was a traitor in their midst, perhaps someone still at work. In an instant, Dark shoots him dead and then begins to cover his tracks, an activity that involves both going to Nigeria and remembering Anna, the beautiful Russian lover who attempted to turn him. After assuming that Anna was dead, he learns that she may be alive after all. Song of Treason (published in the U.K. in 2010) opens at the funeral of Chief, who is revealed as Sir Colin Templeton. Dark is delivering a funeral oration and just beginning to breathe easier about his freedom when a gunshot likely meant for Dark kills a colleague standing next to him. The game, so to speak, is afoot. The brand-new Moscow Option offers Dark a chance at redemption. Flashbacks aside, the entire span of the three novels covers but a few months in 1969, the latter installments finding greater depth and resonance in developments of the first. The weight of Duns' historical detail is impressive--each tale includes a lengthy bibliography--and the whole of the trilogy is much greater than the sum of its parts. The immediacy of Duns' writing grabs and suspends the reader in a beautifully realized heartbeat of recent history.