It is 1913, and those who follow the news closely can see the world is teetering on the brink of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, has always hoped to make a job for himself as a spy. As his sales calls take him from city to great city—Hong Kong to Shanghai to San Francisco to New York—he moonlights collecting intelligence for His Majesty’s Navy, but British espionage is in its infancy and Jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the very tenuous protection of a boss in far-away London. He knows, though, that a geopolitical catastrophe is brewing, and now is both the moment to prove himself and the moment his country needs him most.
Unfortunately, this is also the moment he begins to realize what his aspiration might cost him. He understands his life is at stake when activities in China suddenly escalate from innocent data-gathering and casual strolls along German military concessions to arrest warrants and knife attacks. Meanwhile, a sharp, vivacious American suffragette journalist has wiled her way deep into his affections, and it is not long before he realizes that her Irish-American family might be embroiled in the Irish Republican movement Jack’s bosses are fighting against. How can he choose between his country and the woman he loves? And would he even be able to make such a choice without losing both?
This edition of Jack of Spies is being released in the US and Canada by Soho Crime on 13 May 2014.
The Book Beginning is:
At the foot of the hill, Tsingtau’s Government House stood alone on a slight mound, its gabled upper-floor windows and elegant corner tower looking out across the rest of the town. Substantial German houses with red-tiled roofs peppered the slope leading down to the Pacific beach and pier; beyond them the even grander buildings of the commercial district fronted the bay and its harbors.
This book is next up on my reading list and I’m very much looking forward to it. I love a good spy novel and one set in the cultural cross-roads of Shanghai and Hong Kong was too hard to pass up. This endorsement,
“A wonderfully atmospheric tale of a generation of fledgling spooks … a thrilling read: well researched, emotionally involving, and highly recommended.”
from Mick Herron, the author of Dead Lions, another spook novel from Soho Crime I was singing the praises of even before it won the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger, didn’t hurt either.
If you think you’ve seen this title before with different cover art, you are correct. It was released in the UK and Australia (Old Street Publishing) in September 2013.
Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader. Checkout what other people are reading!