September 20, 2008

The Company of Strangers

The Company of Strangers
Robert Wilson


(September 20, 2008)

A fascinating double-feature with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which is to say, with the greatest spy story ever), this fine novel begins in WWII Lisbon with a young and totally inexperienced British math student pressed into service as a novice field operative. Her operation is blown within a week, but not before she falls hopelessly in love with a Nazi double-agent she hardly knows. The ramifications of this week-long affair echo down decades and across continents, all the way to Burgess and Philby and the fall of the Wall. Wilson’s great interest (and affection) for Portugal, where fascism made its last stand, informs a taut and clever book.