Thursday, January 15, 2009

Readin': The Tears of Autumn

I just finished reading one of the best spy novels I have ever read. Now, I don't mean that to seem more praise than it is. I don't generally read spy novels, I'm not all that interested in them, but this one was great on so many levels.

The book is The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry. The language of the book is poetic, which seems odd to say, but the main character, Paul Christopher, whose cover is as a journalist, is also a published poet. McCarry writes gracefully and well. The author is described on the back cover as having been "an intelligence officer operating under deep cover in Europe, Africa, and Asia." He uses all of those as settings for this novel and writes of them quite convincingly.

The novel's main thrust is an explanation of the assasination of JFK in November 1963. I'm not going to give the whole plot away, but Americans, Russians, Cubans, and Vietnamese (both North and South) are all mixed up in it. You can be sure that almost nothing you read here will have shown up in The Warren Report, the supposed definitive answer to who killed JFK, but perhaps not why. The Tears of Autumn goes into the 'why' of the assasination, but also covers the who and how as well.

The book is chilling in its exposition of intelligence tradecraft and the underlying motivations of the people who practice it. Apparently there are several Paul Christopher novels. I've read two now, The Miernik Dossier and The Tears of Autumn. You can be sure that I will be looking for more of them as these first two have been first rate. Highly recommended

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About Me

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I'm currently 60 years old. I currently work as the learning management system specialist for American University of Madaba in Madaba, Jordan. I was originally certified as a high-school English teacher and taught school for 13 years (1 year of substituting, 1 year of 7th grade, 2 years of a combined 5th, 6th, 7th grade, 9 years of 8th grade). I've worked for hardware and software companies for the past 23 years doing training, training materials development, certification test development and other education related stuff. My wife and I have raised four children to adulthood; some of them live at home at the moment, but that won't last (they're too independent for that). We live at home with 2 Golden Retrievers, 2 black cats, a crazy cat, and, during the winter, 70,000 coho salmon.