Competition published on September 9, 2016.
Washington D. C., 1953. The Cold War is heating up: McCarthyism, with all its fear and demagoguery, is raging in the nation’s capital, and Joseph Stalin’s death has left a dangerous power vacuum in the Soviet Union.
The CIA, meanwhile, is reeling from a double agent within their midst. Someone is selling secrets to the Soviets, compromising missions around the globe. Undercover agents have been assassinated, and anti-Communist plots are being cut short in ruthlessly efficient fashion. The CIA director knows any news of the traitor, whose code name is Protocol, would be a national embarrassment and compromise the entire agency.
George Mueller seems to be the perfect man to help find the mole: Yale-educated; extensive experience running missions in Eastern Europe; an operative so dedicated to his job that it left his marriage in tatters. The Director trusts him. Mueller, though, has secrets of his own, and as he digs deeper into the case, making contact with a Soviet agent, suspicion begins to fall on him as well.
Until Protocol is found, no one can be trusted, and everyone is at risk.
**We have 3 copies of the book to give away – scroll down for your chance to win!**
These Real Readers were impressed…
The pace of the novel is slow and steady, and the reader who is looking for high-speed action may be disappointed. The tension simmers and the plot is punctuated by short bursts of action before settling back into Mueller’s dark introspection. I suspect that this is what life is like for a spy – long periods of inactivity, waiting for something to happen or the right time to act, interspersed with sudden, tense and dangerous events, before relapsing back into quiet. Vidich handles all this with assurance – the characters are well drawn, the events are believable, and the setting and atmosphere are spot on. All in all, this is a great read (and I rarely pick up spy fiction) and I read it in one evening, itching to know how it would all play out. A great debut novel which I definitely recommend, not just for spy fiction afficionados, but for anyone who enjoys a well-written story and intriguing characters.
– Katheryn Thomas
With only John Le Carré and Ian Fleming’s novels to judge by, An Honorable Man features a mostly unknown period to me which made it particularly interesting. The main character Mueller, takes on an assignment when he had hoped to be giving up his spying activities. He and his colleagues were probably typical of the Cold War years ,as there were Russian counterparts. Attention had to be paid to detail to work out, or try to, exactly who was working on which side – East or West. Though much seems improbable at first, similar situations no doubt exist today involving even more countries. It kept interest going too with a human side throughout and though not a genre of my choice normally I had to reach its conclusion.
I found this to be a spy thriller that really grabbed me. It is dark, but written in a style in which I, as the reader, gets sucked in to the atmosphere of the piece. Comparisons are bound to be made with Le Carré, but George Mueller is far less complicated than George Smillie and the book is much more readable than any Le Carré. The plot is not overcomplicated so I did not find that I was getting lost in the plot’s subtleties at all. At only around 250 pages it is a really enjoyable read that could be managed in just a few sittings.
– Martin Turner
Whilst admittedly not exactly a nail biting edge of you seat all action spy thriller full of various spectacular vehicular chases and rising body counts spread across all manner of exotic locations, as per the Bourne Trilogy books and films – though the same statement could be levelled at some of John Le Carré’s books and he has not done too badly. Nevertheless this is an intelligent, very well written story, (with) atmospheric description and evocative with a real sense of time and place and the characterisations terrific. The first time author even finds time for a gentle love story in its 252 pages, and I for one would hope this is not the last we see of the enigmatic hero George Mueller. This is a book I personally very much enjoyed and recommend accordingly.
Paul Vidich’s debut novel is filled with all the tropes you would expect from a Cold War spy thriller and it is very readable. Unravelling the web of deceit that surrounds Protocol is interesting but it is trying to work out the motivations and history of Mueller that really keeps the reader going. His relationships with others demonstrate the toll that such a life takes – how can anyone keep going indefinitely when they must live dual lives – the real one and the lie you are forced to tell your loved ones to protect them? The story is loosely based on real events and a real double agent within the CIA and the secrets he kept that made him vulnerable to manipulation by the Russians. Vidich well conveys the paranoia that swept the period – the fear of being accused, the fear of being associated within anybody who might be accused, the private vendettas dressed up as genuine accusations. The dark and dangerous atmosphere of the period seeps into the pages. This is an accomplished first novel, which holds much promise for the next.
– Eleanor King
About the author
Paul Vidich has had a distinguished career in music and media. Most recently, he served as Special Advisor to AOL and was Executive Vice President at the Warner Music Group, in charge of technology and global strategy. He serves on the Board of Directors of Poets & Writers and The New School for Social Research. A founder and publisher of the Storyville App, Vidich is also an award-winning author of short fiction. An Honorable Man is his first novel.
We have 3 copies of An Honorable Man to give away – for your chance to win simply fill in the form below:
The Competition is closed.
An Honorable Man by Paul Vidich, published by No Exit Press on 22 September, 2016 in hardback at £14.99
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