Summary and book reviews of A Gathering of Spies by John Altman

A Gathering of Spies

By John Altman

A Gathering of Spies
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2000,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2001,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

Every once in a while, a new thriller writer emerges with such an instant command of his craft that readers everywhere take notice. Such a one is John Altman, with A Gathering of Spies.

In l943, America thought it had rounded up all the German spies on its soil. It was wrong. Now, Germany's greatest weapon - a woman with special talents, both for tradecraft and for death - is headed home with critical information about the still-developing atomic bomb, and the Allies' chief hope for stopping her is a British agent with agendas of his own. Originally recruited into MI5 to pose as a double agent, he's been telling the Germans that he'd do anything to free his wife, a prisoner of a concentration camp in Poland. This happens to be true. The question is: How much would he really do to set her free? Where are his loyalties exactly?

As the two spies play cat-and-mouse games across three countries, the ambiguities deepen, each figure showing new sides, each action providing new twists, until at last both agents are swept into a series of climaxes as unpredictable as they are inevitable. This is suspense writing at its best-and the beginning of a brilliant new career.

1942

They had been driving in silence for twenty minutes. Winterbotham's eyes were beginning to drift shut, despite his best efforts to keep them open, when Colonel Fredricks suddenly said, "You know, Professor, you're not at all what I expected."

For a few moments, Winterbotham considered letting it pass. He knew what the colonel meant, and he wasn't in the mood for a fight. He was too goddamned tired. But then his pride - his old bedraggled pride, never knowing when to stay down-forced him to respond.

"How do you mean, Colonel?" he asked.

The colonel let out a small chuckle. "I had been led to expect a sort of wildcat, I suppose."

Winterbotham looked out his window for another moment before answering. The countryside drifted past in absolute darkness; he couldn't make out even the top of the tree line. For the previous two years, all of England had been shutting itself down every night when dusk fell. He supposed they served their purpose, these ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A debut suspenser chock-full of the requisite genre elements—plus a lot more gore than even those specs call for.

Author Blurb Stephen Coont
A sizzling zinger of a classic spy story. With his lean, taut style,Altman doesn't waste a word

Author Blurb Jack Higgins
If there are thriller writers better than this, I'd like to know who they are. John Altman is a major new talent on the scene.

Author Blurb Ronald Kessler, author of Moscow Station and The FBI
John Altman has spun a spellbinding tale that is at once terrifying, amusing, and enchanting. His cinematic prose is so vivid you can smell the cigarette smoke.

Reader Reviews
James Newsom

A GATHERING OF SPIES
One of the best spy novels set in World War II that I have read. I am considered one of the top historians on World War II and I am amazed that this novel by John Altman finally had the setting of the Manhattan Project as its setting. In 1943 Stalin ...   Read More

Mike

This book promised to be a fairly good read but I started noticing some niggling errors in the author's quest for authenticity when I was halfway through the book. This became quite distracting, as I spent the second half looking for and noting the ...   Read More

Sandeep

The Author narrated the intricacies and fineese involed in the spy world and is worth spending time reading it.

Julian D. Bound

A thouhraly exciting read with twists and turns to make your knuckles white and head spin.
Characters you can picture at a glance and with the most writtian word to flesh them out, thrilling.

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