Double Agent by Tom Bradby

‘Kate could not decide whether the woman before her had a keen sense of humour, a deep-seated social autism or both.’

‘Double Agent’ picks up where ‘Secret Service’ left off.  Senior MI6 Officer Kate Henderson’s husband, Stuart, identified as a Russian spy, is now living in Moscow.  Kate and their children manage to meet him in Venice for a brief family visit.  Kate’s children are struggling with the separation: her son Gus is surly; daughter Fiona is barely eating.  They would like Kate and Stuart to reunite.  Kate herself is vulnerable and struggling.

The children are with Stuart and Kate is on her way to join them when she is kidnapped by a Russian agent.  The agent offers evidence that the British Prime Minister is a live agent working for Moscow.  There is both a scandal and a financial paper trail, but the agent wants a deal. There is a change about to occur in the Kremlin, and the agent and his family want to defect.  The stakes are high: can Kate find the truth?

Kate takes the information back to London.  Both the politicians and other more senior people in MI6 are hesitant to act.  Can Kate authenticate the information?  In the meantime, time is passing, and the Russian agent may well offer the information he has to other governments if the British hesitate.

The tension rises.  Kate is running on near-empty: not enough sleep, needing to try to second-guess her own decisions as well as those around her.  The stakes, already high, become higher just when success seems close.

And the ending? Well, it’s not a neat conclusion and it has me wondering what might happen next.  Highly recommended, but best read after ‘Secret Service’.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. 

Jennifer Cameron-Smith