A rattling good yarn. Imagine that Ian Fleming had written ‘The Thirty-nine Steps’
with some help from John le Carre.
This book is set in 1909, the year when the main intelligence agencies were formed.
The First World War was coming and there was a great effort to improve the standing
of the armed forces, especially the navy. An upper-class playboy is unwillingly recruited
to perform a menial job for the intelligence service. But he exceeds his brief and
is soon involved in a great game with foreign spies which involves the most precious
military secrets. He is helped by his suffragette friend, who herself becomes embroiled
in the troubles.
Carefully researched, and including details of real people, events and technology
this gives a rich background to the story. The world situation and the debates of
the time can be followed as the action unfolds. But if you just want to read for
pure enjoyment, you will not be disappointed.