AT has visited the former Soviet Union before but feels it deserves another look – the hidden nature of it’s government and society makes it the perfect setting for countless spy novels. John Le Carre, the master of the Cold War suspense novel, has real-life experience in espionage. He was an officer in both MI5 and MI6 in the 50’s and ’60’s, when he began writing fiction.
One of my favorite le Carre novels is Our Game, largely due to the friendship of the main chararcters and the English and Russian setting. The finale takes place in Ingushetia, an unstable Russian subject next to Chechnya. The book starts out with a mystery; the Bath (England) Police are looking for Larry Pettifer and come to the door of his friend , and former handler, Tim Cranmer. Tim is forced to re-enter the spy world to protect himself and to help his friend – if he can. It turns out that Larry is not just a brilliant University lecturer, but also involved in a quixotic attempt to aid the Ingush rebels.
There is no one better than le Carre in depicting the moral complexity of this murky world, in which the name of the game is deceit and deception, and he shows how such a career is inseparable with your private life, even in retirement.