is set in the early 1970s during the Cold War; its primary concern, however, is not the war of passive aggression characterized by nuclear weapon stockpiling and brinksmanship that made most of the headlines we may remember today. Instead, it focuses on what one character calls "the softest, sweetest part of the Cold War, the only truly interesting part, the war of ideas."
Specifically, it focuses on the short but eventful career of Serena Frome, a lovely young Cambridge graduate with a degree in mathematics and a passion for literature who is recruited for Great Britain's MI5 intelligence service shortly after graduation. There, after paying her dues processing paperwork and filing, she is unexpectedly assigned to an undercover mission nicknamed "Sweet Tooth."
Just as the CIA (much to their later embarrassment) used their own funding to...
Beyond the Book
Just as the United States has separate bureaus for internal and international intelligence and security (the FBI and the CIA), so too does the United Kingdom. Serena Frome is recruited to be part of the Security Service, the internal counter-intelligence and security agency, more commonly known as MI5 (for Military Intelligence, Section 5). Its sister agency, responsible for international intelligence, is the Secret Intelligence Service. In the 1930s SIS adopted the title of MI6 as a "flag of convenience", becoming one of 17 British military intelligence units during WWII.
Other now defunct...