Spycatcher Author Writes from Personal Experience
- Friday, August 26, 2011
Author: Matthew Dunn
Publisher: William Morrow
In Matthew Dunn's exciting new book, Spycatcher, the British Military Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, has a secret program called Spartan.
It is the most intense and specialized training for their most secretive and valuable spy. If the agent completes the training- meaning that they survived it- they are given the title of Spartan. Only one spy holds this title at a time.
Will Cochrane is Spartan.
Spartan is run by by one handler named Alistair at the top of the MI6 food chain. Almost no one else knows Cochrane's real identity or his background. Alistair has confided in Patrick, the man who has Alistair's same position within the CIA.
Together they are planning a mission to coax the infamous terrorist Megiddo out into the open before he can hit his next target in the United States or Great Britain. If Megiddo realizes that MI6 and the CIA are on to him, they will lose their opportunity to capture him and interrogate him about his operations.
Megiddo himself is an enigma. No one in the spy community knows what he looks like, where he operates from, or what his next target will be. All that is known for sure is that he is a violent and dangerous man who will sacrifice whoever and whatever he needs to obtain his political goals.
The ruse that Spartan is masterminding in order to get close to Megiddo involves the terrorist's ex-lover and not only could get Spartan and the woman killed but endanger the lives of thousands of innocent people. It is a risk he feels he has to take in order to get his man. For Spartan this mission becomes more than just stopping one terrorist event, it is a mission of personal retribution.
Matthew Dunn has put together a significant first novel is what is expected to be a bright, new series. Dunn's own background before becoming an author was with MI6 as a field officer, so when he writes about recruiting and running agents, setting up secret drops, having multiple identities, and operating under deep cover, he is sharing from firsthand experience. Dunn conducted more than seventy successful missions while serving in the British Military Intelligence and draws upon his five years as a spy to add to the realism of his stories.
Not everything in the spy world is James Bond glitz and glamor with beautiful women falling at the spy's feet. Dunn, in writing about his book, states that "My path as an M16 officer was ultimately a lonely one. Read Spycatcher and you'll know what I mean."
As lonely as Spartan's life may be, Spycatcher is full of intrigue and action. The twists and turns are typical of a cat-and-mouse game, but one where you are never sure who is doing the chasing and who should be running for their life.
Some of the novel's plot paths are a bit overwhelming and written with too much hyperbole. Several times Spartan appears to have received too much punishment and physical abuse to operate as a super-spy let alone get back on his feet. He apparently has the same kind of rapidly repairing body like the Wolverine comic book hero. Other characters in the book simply die from one solid blow or one single bullet.
While this probably will not be the best written book in the series, Spycatcher is highly entertaining and establishes the back story for Will Cochrane and his drive for justice, peace and personal revenge.
*This review first published 8/26/2011
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