Cover Image: Double Agent

Double Agent

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Member Reviews

A great sequel to "Secret Service" which goes deeper into the world of cloak and dagger and lies, which define the modern day spycraft. The name itself - "Double Agent" - makes us suspect anyone and everyone, along with Kate. Struggling with her husbands' betrayal in the previous book, she still has to navigate her job, dealing with untrustworthy bosses and a new subordinate, who may be a spy for MI-5, and, of course, Russian agents. 

The novel shows us a world which is not black and white, but shades of grey.

I don't want to write about the plot - it's engaging and has some great twists, so I wouldn't want to spoil the fun. 

I do hope Kate will return again. She is a great character.
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"Double Agent" is the second in a spy thriller series with blancmange titles (the first was called "Secret Service") that is very ambitious, Le-Carre-level ambitious. Starring MI6 spy Kate Henderson, whose entire family and circle of friends seem to be involved in the secret world, the series involves convoluted mazes of treachery and high geopolitical drama. Kate is kidnapped in "Double Agent" in order to be offered a high-level defection that claims to bring proof that the British Prime Minister is a spy. The plot sweeps from London to classic spy locations such as Berlin and across the Russian border, the storyline is paced fast and tightly. Kate herself is an engaging espionage hero, seemingly brave and talented, yet wracked by insomnia and tension (I won't spoil a key plot element, but she should be anxious, a result of the first book's betrayals). Tom Bradby, a TV anchor and documentary maker, is a smooth stylist who comes close to showcasing the secret world's depth and ambiguity. I read the first three quarters in a rush of adrenaline, then had to blink while the finale's gymnastic plot gyrations overwhelmed the book's characters and themes. If I turned the last page with a slight sense of letdown, I'm hanging out for the next volume, and what more can one ask for from a spy thriller?
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Another brilliant read by Tom Bradby! 

Its the type of book that is full of action and it takes you on a breathtaking ride from England to Venice and Russia.
Kate Henderson is back and she has to deal with a possible defection of a prominent Russian and his family. In exchange, they will give evidence to MI6 that the new prime minister is a Russian spy......or is he? Who can she trust? Is the evidence real or fake?

This book follows directly on to Secret Service and I would recommend you read them in order. If you don't it will be difficult to follow the storyline as it unfolds. 
It is very well written and you can see the author is very knowledgeable on the subject.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The author's earlier novel, Secret Service, was a good read and I looked forward to reading another tale about M16 agent Kate Henderson. The novel did not grab me from the beginning, but I stuck with it. When Kate took off to meet Sergei in St. Petersburg, the novel was off and running and met all of my interests in reading spy novels. I understand that there had to be a set up to the story, but it was all a little dry. Mr. Bradby sure made up for any shortcomings as we try to determine if the British Prime Minister is a Russian agent. There is also the ever popular suggestion of a mole in the department. The backdrop to all of this is that Kate is a mother of two children and the former wife of a spy, who now lives in Russia. That part left me wondering, but it helped make the family an important part of the story. So I recommend Double Agent. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Another fine outing from Tom Bradby, “Double Agent”, an intelligent follow-up to last year’s “Secret Service”.

This one picks up where “Secret Service” leaves off. Kate Henderson, a senior intelligence officer at MI6, is dealing with the fallout from the events of the previous book – the high-level mole in British Intelligence, the exposure of her husband as a spy and his flight to Moscow. One would think that Kate might get a break and be left alone with some time to recover, but life (especially in espionage thrillers) doesn’t work that way. On a getaway vacation with her two (hostile) children, where they can meet with their father, she gets another opportunity thrown in her lap – a Russian defector with a potential bombshell – the British Prime Minister is actually an active Russian spy.

And away we go. The book really focuses on three different aspects of the story. Of course, there’s the main storyline – is the PM really a spy? Is what the defector telling Kate true, or is this an elaborate set-up? Kate races around Europe, defying her bosses, even turning to old friends once again with disastrous consequences. She isn’t sure who to trust and where everyone’s true loyalties lie.

The second aspect is the office politics, the internal turmoil, the wheels within wheels of the Intelligence Service. Kate’s boss, Ian Granger, is looking to take over as Head of MI6, his naked ambition coloring all of his actions, while his not-so-secret office romance (with Kate’s friend/deputy) falls apart, adding another layer of tension to the situation. The current Head of MI6, Sir Alan Brabazon, has to deal with Kate’s bombshell as he cares for his dying wife. And Kate has a new deputy from MI5, who questions everything that Kate had done and is doing, always putting herself in the middle of every situation, her motives and loyalties unclear.

And the last aspect is Kate’s personal life. Her husband is sorry for what he did, hoping for some sort of reconciliation. Her two children are angry and surly, pushing all of Kate’s buttons and lashing out at her for dad’s defection. Sergei, an old friend (who should have been a lover?) enters the picture as well. Kate is spiraling downwards both physically and mentally, dealing with depression, insomnia, and the uncertainty and pressure of figuring out who to believe and what to do about it.

Mr. Bradby once again writes a smart, thoughtful thriller with strong characters and a complicated (in a good way) plot. I would recommend reading “Secret Service” before this novel, but you should actually read all of his books (“Master of Rain” and “White Russian” are two of my favorites). I am hopeful that we will meet Kate once again.

I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
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The second Kate Henderson novel is a continuation of the exploits of people high up in the organization of MI6 with all the good points of the previous book.  A kidnapping of Kate in Venice leads her into a situation in which the British Prime Minister might be a traitor working for the Russians. She is presented with a teaser indicating his guilt and promised all of the file if the individual presenting it is granted asylum in Great Britain. Her working through the facts of the allegations spreads through the highest echelons of the government as well as bringing her into a secret trip into Russia to interview the individual presenting the file.
     The characters portrayed in Mr Bradby's book have personal pictures of them showing normal situations and private problems that do sometimes conflict with their work.  In Kate's place she has two teen age children with their normal motivations living with her since she is divorced from her husband. Her feelings about the rupture with her husband are shown as complexed as those of any individual's emotions would be in a similar situation.  Additionally, the normal politicking present in any organization affect the thoughts and actions of the people involved.  For example, one of her fellow executives is going through the personal trauma of his wife dying from inoperable cancer and having to face that while going through the problem of giving asylum or not to the people demanding it in order to release the information of the Prime Minister's guilt.  Kate's group is also obviously caught up in the possibility that the file of the PM's guilt might not really be anything but a misinformation campaign by Russia.  
     The novel is an interesting read and while not a red hot all night draw is certainly a book that will cause the reader to seek out future works by Tom Bradby and enjoy them.
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Thanks to #Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. I have to say I loved this book the plot twists and well written characters got me hooked from the beginning. The book is the second in the series and I have read Secret Service which is the first.  This book follows Kate Henderson juggling her career as an agent in MI5 and her family life. This book is highly recommended and I cannot wait to read more!!
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Tom Bradby has written a masterful sequel to his excellent "Secret Service" featuring  the head of MI6’s Russia desk, Kate Henderson. Bradby writes extraordinarily well, his plotting is clever and subtle and his characters utterly convincing. Forget all the nonsense about men are from Mars and women are from Venus, because Bradby gets into his female protagonist's head eerily well. Kate is a single mother with two children who are finding the loss of their father unbearable. Added to which, Kate suffers from depression, anxiety and severe insomnia, not ideal when you’re entering one of the most difficult and dangerous periods of your career.
	There’s a Russian mole high up in the British government, just how high up becomes shockingly clear quite soon in the novel. Mikhail, a Russian in senior management in the SVR wants to defect, with his family including his father Igor who is head of SVR. He wants protection for them and to be allowed to travel freely and keep his wealth. There has been a coup by the GRU (Russian military intelligence) and they’re picking off choice members in the SVR. ( Igor is already under house arrest). In exchange Mikhail will provide the kompromat that turned the Brit into a mole  as well as evidence of money paid to him. When Kate goes into Russia to verify some of the claims made by Mikhail, things start to go badly wrong… very badly wrong and not only her life but the life of her children are imperilled.
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Double Agent is superb (a strong 4.5*). Tom Bradby’s second outing for Kate and her colleagues from SIS (MI6) is a smart, relevant and superior modern spy thriller (a sub-genre for which there are many authors, but few delivering with this level of aplomb). 

The backbone of the plot picks up straight after (the also excellent) Secret Service, within which the Russians have thrown doubt on the probity of the British Prime Minister. Objectively, I’m not sure how well Double Agent would work as a stand alone but I would strong urge reading both books (in the correct order - as reading books out of sequence tilts the earth from its axis - true fact). 

Familiarity of characters is always welcome and Double Agent is no exception. However, where this book excels is the plotting. So often spy thrillers begin with a clever hook and quickly run out of steam (via a frenetic, predictable and violent chase, or such like, towards the end). Secret Service and Double Agent are not that book. They take a clever idea and skilfully weave two gripping, believable and page turning books. The end is smart and I have everything crossed for another instalment. 

Thanks to Grove Atlantic and to Netgalley for an advanced copy in consideration of an honest review.
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I loved Secret Service, Tom Bradby's last Kate Henderson spy thriller and this is even better.

Steeped in knowledge and tradecraft about how the internal security services work and with another plot that could come from the front pages of today's newspapers.

I will not reveal details of the plot but it was credible and grabbed me from the opening pages and followed on from the foundations laid in his previous book.

Kate Henderson's character is well and sympathetically drawn and you feel for her as she juggles her work and family issues as well as her own health problems.

Tom Bradby is an experienced journalist and writer and his books are getting better and better. He is rapidly becoming one of the most skilled proponents of thriller books around.
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I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

I am at a bit of a loss as to how to rate this book really. The first 80% of it was excellent: Kate was trying to work out if a defector could really prove the British PM was in the pay of the Russians, and whether there was a mole in her department. It was exciting and interesting, and I kept on top of all the twists and turns. Then there were scenes set in Georgia which were slow and read like a geography lesson, and then all hell broke loose. There was a crazy 'chase' scene, far too many things happened in the space of too few pages, and I don't have the faintest idea was supposed to have been revealed - was the PM a Russian agent? Was there a mole? I couldn't tell you...
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