Short Book Reviews: The Last Defector, They Came To Baghdad & The Secret Adversary

Hello everyone,

today I’m gonna review three spy and international intrigue stories. Not my favourite genre, but it’s nice to step out of your comfort zone and read something different for a change, don’t you think? And two of them were actually very enjoyable indeed. Without further ado, here are my short reviews:

The Last Defector by Tony Cape
The Last Defector is a spy thriller that takes place at the end of the Cold War, although the plot is completely made up of course and not based on what actually happened at that time. Derek Smiles is an Englishman that is now working at the British Mission at the U.N in New York and finds himself involved by chance in a mission to encourage a Russian to defect at a time when the US and its allies are negotiating a demilitarized zone across Europe. But not everyone agrees with this plan. Someone is trying to ruin the accords. But who? Who is the spy that kills Smailes’ colleagues and betrays their plans to the enemy? At some point Smailes himself is framed for murder and incarcerated. He manages to escape, but he can’t trust noone, not his colleagues, not his friends, not even his girlfriend. It is a plot full of twists, turns and treachery that will make you turn the page eager to find out who the double-agents are. It is also well-written and the author well describes what spies do and how and what methods they use, which I found very interesting. However, there are a couple of things that I didn’t like about the book. I found the bits about the Russians quite boring and clichè, and the plot is very complex so it can get a bit confusing and hard-to-follow at times. But overall, it is a nice read for fans of the genre.
Available at:
Rating: 3/5

They Came To Baghdad by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie excelled at detective stories, as we all know, but she also wrote quite a few adventure and thriller books that, even though aren’t as good, they are still great and very enjoyable, proving what a talented writer she was. The book is set in the early 1950s. Victoria Jones, a young, rather silly and impulsive woman with a habit of lying just to make life more interesting, one day meets Edward, a goodlooking stranger who has to leave for Baghdad soon. Fancying herself in love with him even though she’s just spent only a few moments with him, she decides to follow him to Baghdad. Also going to the city are Carmichael, a British secret agent with important information that make his journey very dangerous, Anna Scheele, a mysterious woman no one knows much about and a lot of very important and influential people and politicians who plan to hold a meeting there that, if it goes wrong (and there are those who are plotting for it to go very wrong) will have nefarious consequences for the entire planet. Romance, intrigues, subterfuges, murders, kidnapping, spies and false identities are all things our Victoria will have to deal with. Although the plot is full of twists and turns, it is also quite far-fetched at times. Still, it works. It is also quite complex, yet it is quite easy to figure out who the spy is. Instead, I loved the descriptions of Baghdad and the Middle East. These places, which Christie actually visited herself, really come alive in the book. All in all, a very enjoyable read.
Available at:
Rating: 4/5

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
The Secret Adversary is the first book featuring Tommy and Tuppence, two broke young people who decide to hire themselves out as “young adventurers”. Their first client is Mr Carter, who works for The British Intelligence, and needs them to find a certain Jane Finn, a survivor from the Lusitania who is in possession of some important war document that, should they fall into the hands of a mysterious Mr Brown, will overthrow the government and cause anarchy. And thus, Tommy and Tuppence embark on an adventure full of dangers and risks that lands them in serious trouble more than once, all the while asking themselves who can they really trust. The end was a complete surprise. I thought I had figured out pretty early in the book who Mr Brown was, but as it turns out I was completely wrong. Tommy and Tuppence are a wonderful, well-suited couple who work really well together and are just very likeable characters. Overall, it’s a fast paced, delightful read.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 3.5/5

Have you read these books or planning to? What do you think of them?

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