The final book of Len Deighton’s Hook / Line / Sinker trilogy (which in turn is the middle of his three trilogies about MI6 man Bernard Samson during the Cold War), Spy Sinker takes a different approach from the preceding five volumes, making reading it in order essential.
Through the previous five volumes, Len Deighton took the reader along one chronological sequence about Samson’s battles with the KGB, his own colleagues and his family, all written from Bernard Samson’s perspective. During that, the understanding the characters and the reader had of old events frequently got reshaped by new evidence – with a succession of different apparent traitors responsible for one particular event, for example.
In Spy Sinker, however, Len Deighton backtracks in time and volume six retraces the events of volumes one to five through a series of scenes from the viewpoints of other characters, and each of which gives a different spin on events from that presented first time round. (Sinker starts several years before the chronological sequence of the previous volumes but the earlier events it covers are ones that have previously featured in the plot.)
It’s an extremely clever culmination to the storyline built up through the two trilogies and given how much of the cleverness relies on details being given a new perspective, the books are best either read by people with excellent memories or in quick succession.
If you like this, you might also be interested in The Defection of AJ Lewinter.
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