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  • Great title

    Like all the Inspector Troy novels this one is a humdinger, had me up way after midnight as I couldn’t put it down until finished.

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  • 2 Decades Of Distrust

    Although this is the 8th in the Inspector Troy series of books it can be read as a stand-alone novel, but only just. There are some assumptions made that the cast of characters (and believe you me, there is an extensive list of those) will be already familiar to you. This means that when certain people from Troy's past crop up it takes a few pages of dialogue and action to get a handle on exactly who they are - Eddie is a particularly troublesome character and I am still not 100% sure who he is and what his relationship to Freddie is. Fortunately there are quite a few who appear to be new to this book and as the action and intrigue is set around those it does not make the book impenetrable to someone joining the series at this juncture. The world setting is exceptionally good with a mixture of real characters being re-imagined and fictional ones being thrown in to muddy the mix. Spanning from the mid 1930's to the late 1950s there is a lot of ground to cover but fortunately the plot pushes along at a good pace and the years simply slip past. The opening scenes in the 1930s when Troy first meets Guy Burgess at one of his father's eclectic dinner parties are evocative of the era; indeed throughout the book you feel as though you are actually back in the time and the places described. This is not a Europe many "normal" people would recognise but it is certainly one that has a true ring of authenticity to it and if you were lucky enough to be part of the upper echelons of society I am sure it is wholly accurate. Centering around the defection of the Cambridge Spies there is just enough history in there to make the fictionalised account seem eminently plausible. This is really a book about two people Frederick Troy and his slightly skewed perspective on justice and Guy Burgess with his extravagant living and bumbling persona masking his true intentions. I'm not sure that Troy is a particularly likeable character as he does seem rather prone to murdering people who get in his way and then utilising his position as the head of the Murder Squad for the Met. to help him conceal his misdemeanours. Then again his whole Russian Emigre family is a little dubious in their actions so lets blame them for his proclivities. The writing is very strong and sucks you in to this world. I am certainly very tempted to take the plunge and read some of the earlier works in this series - the only reservation I have is that the world created within Friends & Traitors is so very strong that I could feel let down by the earlier books. I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM READERS FIRST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

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  • Another outstanding Troy story; but not quite his

    John Lawton is an excellent author. Short paragraphs are worth re-reading to savour. The atmosphere of pre and post war London is caught perfectly; including the attitude to homosexuality: Lawton is careful to show neither approval nor disapproval, which makes it more authentic. The latest published uses the traitor Guy Burges as its basis: a thoroughly unlikeable man with whom, for some reason, Troy has a rapport (but not friendship) - possibly because Burgess is not a hypocrite. That term applies to the incompetents of MI5 who let him escape. The book has the usual intriguing secondary characters: the sexually promiscuous drunk sister Sasha, the honourable brother Rod, the jester Fat Man and the mysterious elder Troys. It is slightly below the level of the previous Troys: the first third is a little protracted; the secondary characters are not shown with the outstanding detail of anguish and tragedy as in previous books. Regardless, the book is still better than 99.9%.

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