The book has a good plot that, just like a good Law and Order episode, goes in directions you don't anticipate in the early stages. I would definitely listen to subsequent books in the Jeremy Fisk series as they appear, which I hope they do. I'd have to agree with an Amazon reader who said it lacked a bit of emotion, but it was still better than average for me. All very forgivable for a first novel!
I was prepared for a book that I wouldn't enjoy as much as Robert Littell's masterpiece, The Company, and I also feared I wouldn't like it much at all, ruining him for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was about Philby as a fairly young boy, to show how he took the path he did. There were some elements of that, but there was still a lot of intrigue, a lot of spycraft, especially as the story progresses.. Do hang on to the very end if you're enjoying it at all. You must!
I also enjoy going back into a time before we know how things turned out and can see the sense in people's choices through that lens. Who could have said how far the revolutionary zeal in the U.S.S.R., for example, would spread? I never thought of Philby as making choices in an anti-fascist period, when all of Stalin's horrors weren't known and people feared the rise of Hitler.
The book's format, with the story presented through interviews worked for me as well, as did John Lee's narration. A large amount of the book was read with dialects, which could be a bit distracting, but he pulled it off.
It was a great book and definitely a new approach to a familiar subject.
Although I wouldn't say this is exactly 5 star writing in the way that every sentence is interesting, it's so close to 5 stars otherwise, I decided to go for it anyway. I read many spy books from earlier eras, which I will continue to enjoy, but a very good exploration about how and why espionage might happen in today's world, I had yet to read. And for me, this book is it. In some ways, it's the best book I've read for awhile for that reason. There may be a tiny difference in how this author sees the world and how I do (and how it IS, in my opinion), as the forces opposed to a transparent world in the novel weren't as compelling as they could be. That difference was tolerable to me, but might hold me back from reading his other books. George Guidall is outstanding, of course.