Jack of Spies

Jack of Spies

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
4
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"It is 1913, and those who follow the news closely can see the world is teetering on the brink of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, has always hoped to make a job for himself as a spy. As his sales calls take him from city to great city--Hong Kong to Shanghai to San Francisco to New York--he moonlights collecting intelligence for His Majesty's Navy, but British espionage is in its infancy and Jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the very tenuous protection of a boss in far-away London. He knows, though, that a geopolitical catastrophe is brewing, and now is both the moment to prove himself and the moment his country needs him most. Unfortunately, this is also the moment he begins to realize what his aspiration might cost him. He understands his life is at stake when activities in China suddenly escalate from innocent data-gathering and casual strolls along German military concessions to arrest warrants and knife attacks. Meanwhile, a sharp, vivacious American suffragette journalist has wiled her way deep into his affections, and it is not long before he realizes that her Irish-American family might be embroiled in the Irish Republican movement Jack's bosses are fighting against. How can he choose between his country and the woman he loves? And would he even be able to make such a choice without losing both?"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Soho Crime, c2014
ISBN: 9781616952686
1616952687
Branch Call Number: DOW
Characteristics: 338 p. ;,24 cm

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r
rp3276
Jun 14, 2017

I enjoyed reading this book. It is a good history lesson of the time. I just reserved the sequel.

b
billmacrotarian
Dec 13, 2015

Jack of Spies introduces us to Jack McColl, car salesman and agent for the British secret service pre-WWI. The action takes us from China to San Francisco to New York to Mexico and to Ireland during which McColl matches wits with German spies and Irish and Indian revolutionaries. I may have made it sound more exciting than it is. A big chunk of the book is consumed by an around-the-world romance with a modern-thinking Irish American woman. The period is interesting but Downing only gives us snippets of the time. The lead up to WWI is interesting and the amateurism of the secret service at the time makes it kind of fun. However, interesting spy elements have been made boring and the romance takes up too much of the book as filler.

Diell Jul 12, 2014

Enjoyed the Station books better.
In comparison was just not as finely executed.

r
roystreet
Jul 05, 2014

Downing is incapable of a sharp image; he has an uncanny ear for the lazy generality, the fuzzy approximation. And that goes double for his characters. Look elsewhere for suspense. "Nothing to see here, folks."

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