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Northlight is the eleventh in Adam Hall's (aka Ellestron Trevor) series of espionage novels about an Executive named Quiller working for a Bureau that doesn't officially exist. When a job comes up that is paticulary sensitive, the Bureau takes over with the understanding that if anything goes wrong, they and their Agent in the field will be cut completely loose with no ties to the British Goverment. Quiller is not even the main character's name but merely the prefix under which he works. All that we know of Quiller is that he refuses to "carry a gun during peacetime" or in most instances carry a Suicide capsule and that, should he die, his only bequest is to send some roses to an ex-flame named Moira, who is an actress.
Northlight is one of the most up-to-date Quiller novels that I have read yet; set at a time when we have a female British Prime Minister and Reagan is in administration. An American Submarine has gone down in Soviet waters and a serious Diplomatic situation is starting to arise. Peace talks are due in just a few weeks and events are occurring that may well threaten those talks and prevent any potential end to The Cold War. Quiller is asked to go under cover and obtain a copy of a tape that will indicate that Russia knew what they wre doing when they sank the American Sub. But things as always do not go as planned.....
First, Quiller obtains a copy of the tape but it is destroyed before it can be put to any use. Then Quiller goes after the original. Finally, Quiller is given the task of extracting the original source of the information before he can be silenced by the Soviet KGB. As per usual with these novels, the vaction flies thick and fast and the tension mounts the closer we get to the explosive final act!
This is another great spy novel from Hall that is both totally and utterly believable and credible. It's Eighties background fits perfectly with the plot and, at times, it is difficult to remind ourselves that this is only fiction. What I like most about these novels is that often there is no black and white, no grand enemy set on total world domination and that Quiller is given missions or put into situations that could really exist in real-life! I also love the way that Quiller is kept largely as an international man of mystery with only very vague references made to his past and his life both before and between his work for the Goverment! We are told in these books, much like Quiller himself, only what we need to know.....giving these novels yet another injection of realism!
I cannot recommend these novels enough, they are much more believable than many of the Bond books written after Ian Fleming, and are my absolute favourite espionage thrillers of all time. Though this is perhaps, at times, not so tightly woven as some of his other plots it is still brilliant and remains miles ahead of the competition. If you have not picked up Adam Hall before, don't worry either! No previous knowledge of Quiller is required and this can be read entirely as a stand-alone ~ another reason why I like these novels so much! With these, it is very easy to just dip in and out of Quillers life with no commitment needed. And with some of these books becoming increasingly harder to obtain (and isn't it long overdue that they get a re-release?), this salient fact can only be an advantage....
Think you have seen all Quiller has to offer....think again. This book proves that fans have not seen nothng yet!