It is much too early in the year to even begin discussing such things, but I am confident that AGENT 6 will be on several “Best of the Year” lists. The concluding volume of a trilogy that includes the haunting CHILD 44 and the unforgettable THE SECRET SPEECH, it continues Tom Rob Smith’s penchant for exhaustive detail and claustrophobic atmosphere.
"It is much too early in the year to even begin discussing such things, but I am confident that AGENT 6 will be on several 'Best of the Year' lists."
Leo Demidov’s career as a Moscow secret policeman shapes and informs the events that take place, even as he makes a life for himself outside of the law enforcement arena. AGENT 6 begins in 1950, telling the story of how Demidov first met his beloved wife, Raisa. The narrative continues through 1965, when Demidov, who has become a respected manager of a small factory, loses everything he holds dear in the space of a heartbeat. Grieving and seeking revenge, he is prevented by the Communist state from investigating the cause of the tragedy or the impetus behind it. But he is not one to be denied, as those familiar with CHILD 44 and THE SECRET SPEECH know all too well. Over the course of the next 15 years, Demidov relentlessly follows a complex and tortuous path, one that takes him from Russia to the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan and finally to New York.
Along the way, the author captures the mood and the era scrupulously against several different backdrops. One knows, almost from the beginning of the book, that things are not going to end well, as the Soviet Union passes from the terrifying and murderous rule of Josef Stalin through Leonid Brezhnev’s rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Soviet ship of state as he steered it resolutely into the economic iceberg that had been its destiny from the beginning. Demidov is older and exhausted, yet more resolute than ever, while at the same time he is arguably more flawed. As with the best literature, the “current” events of AGENT 6 are tied to the acts of the past, erroneous and otherwis