A satisfying but non-revelatory ending to the trilogy started by Berlin Game and Mexico Set, whose lack of true satisfaction in its ending both feels earned (in the sense that one of the main messages of these books has been the lack of clean breaks and endings in the conflicts and characters it catalogues) and pending (there are six more books in the series, and while I haven't looked to see if Deighton explicitly crafted the second trilogy after having once considered the original trilogy "done" you could definitely take it either way.)

I wrote in Mexico Set about how these books felt a little like Christie novels, and while that's true here there was also something of the workplace sit-com in them, in the familiarity you osmose in book after book with the same cast of folks. While it feels like there's no small amount of contrivance at hand (you grow to imagine MI6 as a huge, empty building populated with only our five or six named deuteragonists), it's also nice to see the growth and warmth imbued in otherwise tossed-off caricatures like Tessa & George.

I think I'll take a (long) break before resuming the nonalogy of these books, but I'm happy to have blitzed through the first three: they were both gripping and rewarding, and Bernard Samson makes for a delight.



I hurried along the path as if suddenly remembering an appointment. Then I stooped down to hide. It wouldn't have worked with anyone more experienced, so it was really a test of his expertise. I still had no measure of him and couldn't guess what his motives might be. As it was, he walked right into it. That is to say, he walked right into me. It was the hurrying that did it; it often stampedes the pursuer into incautious and impulsive actions. That was how Hannibal won the Battle of Lake Trasimene after crossing the Apennines. All it needed was that sudden dash towards Rome to make Flaminius chase after him and blunder right into his ambush. Hannibal would probably have had the makings of a good field agent.

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