For the first time ever, legendary editor Otto Penzler has handpicked some of the most respected and best-selling thriller writers working today for a riveting collection of spy fiction. From first to last, this stellar collection signals mission accomplished.
"Not as good as I'd hoped"
March 1938. The Germans take Vienna without a shot being fired. Covering Austria for the English press is a young journalist named Rod Troy. Back home his younger brother joins the CID as a detective-constable. November 1938. Kristallnacht. The Jews leave Vienna-Sigmund Freud with an American escort on a sleeper train, Josef Hummel tied to the underside of a box car.
"History and Mystery, woven together beautifully"
A new breed of gangster appears and the battle for the East End begins. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy is quite literally caught in the crossfire, when he is hit by the blast from a car bomb.
As the Luftwaffe make their last desperate assault on the city, Londoners take to the shelters once again and eagerly await the signal for D-Day. In the East End children lead police to a charred, dismembered corpse buried in a bombsite. The victim is German, and it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary murder.
John Holderness, known to the women in his life as ‘Wilderness’, comes of age during World War II in Stepney, breaking in to houses with his grandfather. After the war, Wilderness is recruited as MI5’s resident ‘cat burglar’ and finds himself in Berlin, involved with schemes in the booming black market that put both him and his relationships in danger.
1963. England is about to explode. An ageing hack defects to Russia. A cabinet minister resigns. A young woman takes an overdose. A Harley Street physician blows out his brains. Commander Troy investigates. But what with the sex and the drugs, he finds that he's up to his neck in the mess, personally and professionally. The damn thing might blow up in his face, and the English can be so unforgiving of a good scandal.
Having shot someone in the chaos of 1963 Berlin, Joe Wilderness finds himself locked up, with little chance of escape. But an official pardon through his father-in-law, Burne-Jones, a senior agent at MI6, means he is free to go. His newest operation will take him back to Berlin, now the dividing line between the West and the Soviets. When the Russians started building the Berlin Wall in 1961, two 'Unfortunate Englishmen' were trapped on opposite sides. In 1965 there is a plan to exchange the prisoners on Berlin’s bridge of spies.
Spring 1941: After 10 years spying for the Americans, Wolfgang Stahl disappears during a Berlin air raid. The Germans think he's dead. The British know he's not. But where is he? MI6 convince US Intelligence that Stahl will head for London, and so Captain Cal Cormack, a shy American 'aristocrat', is teamed with Chief Inspector Stilton, fat, 50, and convivial, and between them they scour London.
Meret Voytek, pupil of professor Viktor Rosen, a Jew in exile from Germany, watches as Vienna comes under Nazi rule and the repercussions for the Jews. Across Europe, Dr Karel Szabo, a Hungarian physicist, has been interned on the Isle of Man. Rescued by the Americans, they recruit him in building an atomic bomb. Moving from Vienna and Auschwitz to the deserts of New Mexico to London, fate carries the enemy alien, Szabo and gentile Voytek, across the battlefields of the destructive war.
Turner Raines is Mr Heartbreak. Everybody leaves him. They walk out, they run away...they die. When his oldest friend, Mel Kissing, dies with an ice pick through his skull, Raines picks up the thread and sets out to ask 'who?' and 'why?' But this is America in 1969, and one death is just a drop in the ocean. The Vietnam War is ripping the country to pieces, the Woodstock Festival is in full swing and Norman Mailer is standing as candidate for mayor of New York.