Book Review: Len Deighton ~ Faith (1994)

It was Deighton’s misfortune to be a brilliant author at the same time as John le Carre was also writing. Salieri had a similar problem with Mozart! So why read Deighton?

I returned to Deighton after 25 years and was impressed. Every part of Faith is beautifully crafted and the principal characters are intense and captivating. Faith is part of a trilogy with the other two wittily called Hope and Charity. Will I read them? Yes I will. I call it binge-reading.

Faith features Bernard Samson a laconic and brilliant MI-6 spy-master. He was born in Berlin to a parent who was a spy-master himself. Bernard therefore spoke German and English with equally convincing fluency. He lives permanently on the fringes of society and yet belongs. A chameleon. Faith is set in the period immediately prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall when the spying ‘community’ was still hard at work. Putin was there. He learned how to be a ‘statesman’ in Berlin, though he doesn’t feature in Faith.

A short quote will establish Deighton’s credentials:

Bret was injured in action,” I said. “He is a celebrated hero of the Department’s secret history. Don’t forget that Dicky. The Department is bound to feel indebted to him.”

Dicky frowned and bit greedily into his fingernail. Dicky would have done anything to have something like that said about him, but Dicky knew that going into the field, to find action, was the quickest and most certain way of disappearing from the promotion lists forever. And if he ever forgot that basic fact of life in London Central, he had only to look at my career to be reminded of it.” pp268-9

If you like literate finely crafted thrillers this is for you.

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