The Double Game
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A few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, spook-turned-novelist Edwin Lemaster revealed to up-and-coming journalist Bill Cage that he’d once considered spying for the enemy. For Cage, a Foreign Service brat who grew up in the very cities where Lemaster’s books were set, the news story created a brief but embarrassing sensation and heralded the beginning of the end of his career in journalism.
More than two decades later, Cage, now a lonely, disillusioned PR man, receives an anonymous note hinting that he should have dug deeper into Lemaster’s pronouncement. Spiked with cryptic references to some of Cage’s favorite spy novels, the note is the first of many literary bread crumbs that lead him back to Vienna, Prague, and Budapest, each instruction drawing him closer to the complex truth, each giving rise to more questions: Why is beautiful Litzi Strauss back in his life after thirty years? How much of his father’s job involved the CIA? As the events of Lemaster’s past eerily—and dangerously—begin intersecting with those of Cage’s own, a “long stalemate of secrecy” may finally be coming to an end.
A story about spies and their secrets, fathers and sons, lovers and fate, duplicity and loyalty, The Double Game ingeniously taps the espionage classics of the Cold War to build a spellbinding maze of intrigue. It is Dan Fesperman’s most audacious, suspenseful, and satisfying novel yet.
and leave—and in exchange you may linger as long as you like. Your waiter, dressed in a dinner jacket, won’t even give you a dirty look, but he will attend to your every need without complaint. Tip him generously and he probably won’t even remember you were there to begin with, in case the authorities ask later. So there I was at the Bräunerhof on a fine Monday morning with thirty-six minutes to spare, surveying the scenery from my former favorite table, along the side wall farthest from the
“With a cane that he taps like a telegraph.” “Complete affectation, but he’s entitled. Lothar Heinemann is a legend. Book scout extraordinaire.” “Book scout?” “How do you think I tracked down half my collection?” He waved an arm toward his shelves. “Some of the choicest finds were his. Ask Lothar to find a needle in a haystack and he’ll be back inside a week with five to choose from, plus a sewing box. He’s a genius. The problem is finding him. And, frankly, keeping him sober.” “Booze?”
of Folly’s zealous young acolytes, I squeezed the red button for “Record,” setting the tape in motion without the slightest click. I casually withdrew my hand just before he looked up, and upon seeing he hadn’t noticed, I was giddy with a sense of accomplishment. For the only time that night, I was the smartest man in the room. “As a matter of fact,” Lemaster said slowly, “yes. I did contemplate it. Not for ideological reasons, of course. And certainly not for the money. But it crossed my mind,
skin and tossing my hair. “Ask such a question again and I will shove this straight into your lying mouth.” I listened to his breathing, trying to remain as still as possible and not daring to look away from his eyes. He slowly backed away, but only a step, and he continued to hold the knife forward. “The wire transfer,” he said again. “Three days, no longer.” “It will be done.” He smiled grimly but said nothing. Then he coughed and blew his nose on the sleeve of his free hand. I stood
look of the devoted reader who thinks he’s finally found the real thing. Well, get it out of your head. The real Connie was some MI5 gal, Millicent Bagot. She died four years ago. Look it up, if that’s what you’re into. But I don’t come from a book, and no one ever wrote me into one. Letting Newsweek write that load of PR rubbish about the Hargraves case was a mistake, but no one asked me, of course. None of the old Agency spooks who wrote novels even knew who I was, and that’s the way I