The Once and Future Spy
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Robert Littell is a master storyteller of the highest caliber in the ranks of John le Carré, Len Deighton, and Graham Greene. The Once and Future Spy is a tale of espionage and counterespionage that reveals the dirty tricks and dangerous secrets of the subjects Littell knows best—the CIA and American history. When “the Weeder,” an operative at work on a highly sensitive project for “the Company,” encounters an elite group of specialists within the innermost core of the CIA protecting a clandestine plan, the present confronts the past and disturbing moral choices are weighed against a shining patriotic dream. Inventive, imaginative, and relentlessly gripping, The Once and Future Spy is Robert Littell at his most original.
buttered up, but he found the experience pleasant anyhow. “I liked him a lot too,” he said. The thickset man turned reverential. He might have been pledging allegiance. “We owe it to him,” he said. “We owe it to his memory.” Wanamaker nodded in grudging agreement. 13 It was the one weekend in two when the Weeder didn’t have visitation rights with Martin. So he spent the morning drowning his aching emptiness in history. He wandered around an outdoor flea market lusting after a
marching. Some of us think of our little operation as a memorial to his memory.” “Tch, tch,” the Admiral cooed into the night. “How extraordinarily touching.” His voice turned singsong; he might have been lecturing on the fundamentals of intelligence methodology at the Farm. “Kabir, of course, is Amir Kabir College in Tehran, which by a curious coincidence happens to have an American five-megawatt nuclear research reactor on campus. And Stufftingle”—the Admiral let the word hang in the cold,
“You let him get a look at you!” The Admiral could hear the note of astonishment in Wanamaker’s voice, could picture him rolling his ungroomed head from side to side in frustration, could imagine the flurry of dandruff flakes, dislodged, drifting past the rumpled shoulders of his unpressed sport jacket into an open container of low-fat cottage cheese. Toothacher screwed up his face in disgust. In his view what was killing the Company was too much HYP—too much Harvard, Yale, Princeton. When he
tradecraft.” He plunged his gloveless hands deeper into his overcoat pockets and studied the window of a record store, using it as if it were a mirror, looking in it for remarkable things-lean young men wearing belted raincoats and lightly tinted aviator sunglasses, window-shopping for things they were unlikely to buy. “The last time I tried this particular trick of the trade I wound up being cornered in a parking lot by a wino breathing fire.” On the spur of the moment he pulled Snow into a
her shoulders tiredly, brought a cuticle to her lips. “I don’t know whose truth to trust,” she admitted. 21 The Weeder came up slowly, carefully, pausing every twenty or so yards until he became accustomed to the depth. At one marker he started to hear voices but they were too far above his head to make out what they were saying. Two markers farther up he got a whiff of ether. The odor provoked a memory: One of the two men in the back of the car had pinned his wrists while the other had