The latest novel in a series regularly singled out for its exceptional quality features Inspector Troy of Scotland Yard in a tale of Cold War spy dealings centered around double agent Guy Burgess—a story of betrayal, espionage, and the dangers of love.
London, 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a European trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod has decided to take his entire family on the “grand tour” for his fifty-first birthday: a whirlwind of restaurants, galleries, and concert halls from Paris to Florence to Vienna to Amsterdam. But Frederick Troy only gets as far as Vienna. It is there that he crosses paths with an old acquaintance, a man who always seems to be followed by trouble: British spy turned Soviet agent Guy Burgess.
Suffice it to say that Troy is more than surprised when Burgess, who has escaped from the bosom of Moscow for a quick visit to Vienna, tells him something extraordinary: “I want to come home.” Troy knows this news will cause a ruckus in London—but even Troy doesn’t expect an MI5 man to be gunned down as a result, and Troy himself suspected of doing the deed.
As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy is haunted by more than just Burgess’ past liaisons—there is a scandal that goes up to the highest ranks of Westminster, affecting spooks and politicians alike. And the stakes become all the higher for Troy when he reencounters a woman he first met in the Ritz hotel during a blackout—falling in love is a handicap when playing the game of spies.
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“Lawton, as in his previous Inspector Troy novels, is a master of creating a feeling of time and place, of amalgamating true-life events into his imaginative plot, of bringing every character, real or fictitious, major or minor, vividly to life…The surprises keep coming, not merely up to the last chapter but even to the novel’s very last line.”
“Superb…[A] smart, fascinating historical thriller.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A beguiling interpretation of [Guy] Burgess’ life both before and after his defection in 1951.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“Burgess makes a delicious antagonist…Lawton, who writes with rueful acumen, puts a human face on the moral and political complexities of the Cold War.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“An artful blend of two ever-popular subjects: espionage and British police work…It’s an extraordinary story…told many times before, in both fiction and nonfiction, but Lawton has a fresh approach, shaping Friends and Traitors as more of a character study than a standard-issue thriller.”
— Seattle Times
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About John Lawton
John Lawton is the author of the Inspector Troy series, the Joe Wilderness series, Sweet Sunday, and 1963, a volume of history. He has also edited reissued books by H. G. Wells, D. H. Lawrence, and Joseph Conrad. His Inspector Troy novels have been named Best Books of the Year by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times Book Review. He lives in the north of England and Italy.
About Lewis Hancock
Lewis Hancock is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.