Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

About the book

The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. Britain is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism. Serena Frome, in her final year at Cambridge, is being groomed for MI5. Serena is sent on a secret mission – Operation Sweet Tooth – which brings her into the world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage – trust no one.

 

Reviewed by Enjoying Books

Many of us are Ian McEwan fans and enjoyed his superb writing in this novel set in the seventies. Some found it self indulgent, others were hooked. Recommended.”

star rating *** ½

 

 

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/borrow-book-sets.htm

Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre

About the book

One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War. Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead. His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece. The brainchild of an eccentric RAF officer and a brilliant Jewish barrister, the great hoax involved an extraordinary cast of characters including a famous forensic pathologist, a gold-prospector, an inventor, a beautiful secret service secretary, a submarine captain, three novelists, a transvestite English spymaster, an irascible admiral who loved fly-fishing, and a dead Welsh tramp. Using fraud, imagination and seduction, Churchill’s team of spies spun a web of deceit so elaborate and so convincing that they began to believe it themselves. The deception started in a windowless basement beneath Whitehall. It travelled from London to Scotland to Spain to Germany. And it ended up on Hitler’s desk.

Reviewed by CC readers

“Well written, well documented and readable book. A little complex and overloaded with information at times which needed close reading and concentration. Very rewarding and quite funny in places”

star rating ***

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/borrow-book-sets.htm

The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming

About the book

Hard-up Russia expert Dr Sam Gaddis finally has a lead for the book that could solve all his career problems. But the story of a lifetime becomes an obsession that could kill him.

When his source is found dead, Gaddis is alone on the trail of the Cold War’s deadliest secret: the undiscovered sixth member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring.

Suddenly threatened at every step and caught between two beautiful women, both with access to crucial evidence, Sam cannot trust anyone.

To get his life back, he must chase shadows through Europe’s corridors of power. But the bigger the lie, the more ruthlessly the truth is kept buried…

 

Reviewed by Wallington Village

An interesting idea. Easy to read, pacey and not too complicated. The first lead was gained far too easily. A bit of plot but lots of holes. The characters lost credibility

star rating – none provided

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading book set

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/borrow-book-sets.htm

 

Self's punishment by Bernard Schlink

About the book

Sixty-eight years old; a smoker of Sweet Aftons, a dedicated drinker of Aviateur cocktails, and the owner of a charismatic cat named Turbo, Gerhard Self is an unconventional private detective. When Self is summoned by his long-time friend and rival Korten to investigate several incidents of computer-hacking at a chemicals company, he finds himself dealing with an unfamiliar kind of crime that throws up many challenges. But in his search for the hacker, Self stumbles upon something far more sinister. His investigation eventually unearths dark secrets that have been hidden for decades, and forces Self to confront his own demons

Reviewed by Kings Somborne

We were disappointed as we all loved “The Reader” and found this confusing, There was poor character development; however, there were amusing and quirky parts. We found the Nazi/German/industrial espionage aspects of interest.

Star rating: **

Read this book

Request to borrow a reading group set
 
 
 
 
 

Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst

About the book

Salonika, 1940. To the bustle of tavernas and the smell of hashish, a secret war is taking shape. In the backrooms of barbers, envelopes change hands, and in the Club de Salonique the air is thick with whispers. Costa Zannis is the city’s dashing chief detective – a man with contacts high and low, in the Balkans and beyond. And as unknown ships and British ‘travel writers’ trickle through the port, he is a man very much in demand. Having helped defeat Italy in the highlands of Macedonia, Zannis returns to a city holding its breath. Mussolini’s forces have retreated – for now – but German sights are fixed firmly on the region. And as the situation in Germany worsens, Zannis becomes involved in an audacious plot – smuggling Jews to Istanbul, through the back door of Europe. The British hear he can penetrate the continent’s closed borders, and soon Zannis is embroiled in the resistance, and in a reckless love affair that could jeopardise everything. With a remarkable cast of operatives, SPIES OF THE BALKANS is a brilliant new espionage novel from Alan Furst.

Reviewed by The Accidental Reading Group:

A good book bluc boo but did not result in an indepth discussion. The main character Zannis was an admirable man but we felt the others were rather periphery. We loved the dog!

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set