Muir's Gambit: A Spy Game Novel
The Aiken Trilogy - Book 1
by Michael Frost Beckner
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Pub Date 05 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 01 Mar 2023
It's not how you play the GAME... It's how the game plays YOU.
"Charlie March is dead. On a day that promised perfection to the hero of the CIA, an eighteen-minute countdown was all he got to enjoy it once he turned the ignition key and sent an electric spark to his sailboat's engine..."
A prequel novel to his #1 hit motion picture, the Robert Redford/Brad Pitt thriller Spy Game, Michael Frost Beckner's Muir's Gambit opens with the assassination of retired CIA hero Charlie March. Mentor to Redford's Nathan Muir, by his murder, Charlie March presents Langley the perfect opportunity to rid themselves of Cold War dinosaur Muir.
Set 48-hours before the events of Spy Game, Muir's Gambit introduces hard-luck CIA lawyer Russell Aiken dispatched to force Muir's confession. For Aiken, it's as much an escape as an assignment. Running from a crime of passion, he's the protégé Muir cast aside in favor of Tom Bishop. Tormented by Muir's denial of his ambitions, Aiken thirsts for payback unaware that Muir launched a different game for him long ago, and he has 24-hours to learn its rules, plays, and stakes.
As the two spies play at a dangerous cat-and-mouse interrogation over the dark underbelly of forty years of CIA operations, conspiracies, assassinations, and deadly secrets, Muir's Gambit works as a dual confession by two unreliable narrators.
A scathing indictment of Cold War spy games, Muir's Gambit is also an examination of the human condition, the cost to the soul when moral men sanctioned to do the immoral, have one night to regain some shred of decency before the dawn, and come to terms over the one moral spy, Tom Bishop, who stands between them.
“Relentlessly tense… Muir is both debonair and chilling… This smashing espionage tale kicks off what promises to be a smart, indelible series.” Kirkus Reviews
"Charged, vivid prose, electric dialogue, and an encyclopedic command of 20th century espionage and culture keep the pages turning until a pained, satisfying ending... A chilling, inspired espionage thriller. Editor's Choice. Publisher's Weekly "Booklife"
"Muir’s Gambit is a brilliant opening salvo in the author’s Aiken trilogy. Espionage fans looking for an alternative to standardized spy-thriller tropes will find plenty to entertain them in this satisfyingly offbeat offering." BlueInk Reviews
"In this prequel to the espionage thriller Spy Game, Beckner returns to Nathan Muir's CIA origins...[where] the line between [truth] and [lies] is blurred, often beyond recognition. Beckner consistently demonstrates a knack for taking high-stakes situations and storylines and adding an array of dimensions that deliver a more intimate connection." - RECOMMENDED, The US Review of Books
"It's rare, in the thriller genre, to find such an ongoing and neat juxtaposition of interests and vying forces, [but] Michael Frost Beckner's Muir's Gambit…proves a far deeper inspection of a spy's world than most… Hard-hitting psychological insights [are] as powerfully depicted as the wider arena of world conflict for maximum impact. Libraries seeking standouts in spy literature and cat-and-mouse suspense will relish Muir's Gambit, which succeeds on so many levels that its course is not only unpredictable, but thoroughly delightful." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"Muir's Gambit is part fast-paced thriller, part intricate cat-and-mouse confessional between two spies consumed by lives of betrayal and vengeance; everyone should be reading this!" Michele McPhee, best-selling author, Emmy-nominated investigative journalist, and award-winning columnist
Praise for Beckner & Spy Game:
"Michael Frost Beckner is the rarest of spy novelists, a beautiful and compelling writer who also has a mastery of tradecraft and a deep understanding of how espionage really works." Joe Weisberg, former CIA Officer and Emmy winning creator of The Americans
"It's policy versus heart... Will challenge you in ways you haven't been challenged before." Tony Scott, Spy Game director
"Trades in the kind of shadings and moral quandaries that have been the meat and drink of Le Carré." The Boston Globe
"You can set off a million firecrackers, but if you don't have a story to tell, you have nothing but smoke... Michael Frost Beckner's electrifying Spy Game is a thinking man's thriller... A real adrenaline blast... I loved it!" Robert Redford, "Robert Redford: The Biography" by Michael Feeney Callahan
"A chess game...laid out on the real world of espionage." Brad Pitt, Hollywood.com/Screen Slam
"Michael Frost Beckner serves up a judicious blend of showy action, political intrigue, ticking-clock suspense, and intramural CIA one-upmanship for mainstream entertainment." Variety
"A taut...timely...intelligent thriller." The Washington Post
"Asks tough, unflinching questions about America's responsibility to maintain world peace-and the price we are willing to pay in order to accomplish that." The Miami Herald
"Enormously satisfying." San Francisco Chronicle
"Pretty, gritty, engrossing and fun." The Oregonian
- Robust review coverage in online & print media
- Social Media Advertising
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- Pre-Publication Trade Advertising
- National & International Podcast Interviews
- National Print & Online Media Coverage (tie-in with forthcoming Beacon Pictures series announcement)
- Pre-Publication Online Buzz Campaign - Includes Influencers and Consumer Reads
- Library Marketing Campaign
- Author Website: http://www.michaelfrostbeckner.com/
- Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelFrostBecknerAuthor/
- Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelFBeckner
- Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelfrostbeckner/
- Reader's Edition Available through NetGalley
- Cross-Promotion with the two other books in trilogy, BISHOP'S ENDGAME (September 2022) and AIKEN IN CHECK (September 2022)