William Christie has written a fast-paced spy thriller. His protagonist is Alexsi Smirnov, a street and desert smart Azeri teenager who is very handy with a knife. He would ultimately become a well-placed KGB agent inside the Abwehr. Smirnov is a library educated autodidact who is fluent in Russian, Farsi and German. We trace his adventure from being a teenage smuggler in the Trans Caucasus to his capture by Russian authorities that sends him to a prison/orphanage where he spotted as potential spy materiel.
From the orphanage he is transported to KGB headquarters in Lubyanka prison. There under the tutelage of a master spy he is groomed to enter Germany by impersonating the nephew of a senior Nazi diplomat. With the aid of his “uncle” he becomes an intelligence officer in the Abwehr where he discovers Hitler’s plans to invade Russia. Of course Stalin does not believe the report he files.
Later in the book Smirnov becomes involved in the mythical plot (Operation Long Jump) to assassinate the Big 3 at Tehran led by the Germany’s star commando Otto Skorzeny. This plot has been the subject of more than a few spy novels.
Along the way Christie paints a very realistic picture of life in 1930s Russia and wartime Germany. “A Single Spy” is well worth the read!
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