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Defectors
Cover of Defectors
Defectors
A Novel
From the bestselling author of Leaving Berlin and The Good German comes a fast-paced and richly imagined novel about an American spy, the Cold War's most notorious defector, who gave up his country for the safety—and prison—of Moscow, but never lost his gift for betrayal.
In 1949, Frank Weeks, fair-haired boy of the newly formed CIA, was exposed as a Communist spy and fled the country to vanish behind the Iron Curtain. Now, twelve years later, he has written his memoirs, a KGB- approved project almost certain to be an international bestseller, and has asked his brother Simon, a publisher, to come to Moscow to edit the manuscript. It's a reunion Simon both dreads and longs for. The book is sure to be filled with mischief and misinformation; Frank's motives suspect, the CIA hostile. But the chance to see Frank, his adored older brother, proves irresistible.

And at first Frank is still Frank—the same charm, the same jokes, the same bond of affection that transcends ideology. Then Simon begins to glimpse another Frank, still capable of treachery, still actively working for "the service." He finds himself dragged into the middle of Frank's new scheme, caught between the KGB and the CIA in a fatal cat and mouse game that only one of the brothers is likely to survive.

Defectors is the gripping story of one family torn apart by the divided loyalties of the Cold War, but it's also a revealing look at the wider community of defectors, American and British, living a twilit Moscow existence, granted privileges but never trusted, spies who have escaped one prison only to find themselves trapped in another that is even more sinister. Filled with authentic period detail and moral ambiguity, Defectors takes us to the heart of a world of secrets, where no one can be trusted and murder is just collateral damage.
From the bestselling author of Leaving Berlin and The Good German comes a fast-paced and richly imagined novel about an American spy, the Cold War's most notorious defector, who gave up his country for the safety—and prison—of Moscow, but never lost his gift for betrayal.
In 1949, Frank Weeks, fair-haired boy of the newly formed CIA, was exposed as a Communist spy and fled the country to vanish behind the Iron Curtain. Now, twelve years later, he has written his memoirs, a KGB- approved project almost certain to be an international bestseller, and has asked his brother Simon, a publisher, to come to Moscow to edit the manuscript. It's a reunion Simon both dreads and longs for. The book is sure to be filled with mischief and misinformation; Frank's motives suspect, the CIA hostile. But the chance to see Frank, his adored older brother, proves irresistible.

And at first Frank is still Frank—the same charm, the same jokes, the same bond of affection that transcends ideology. Then Simon begins to glimpse another Frank, still capable of treachery, still actively working for "the service." He finds himself dragged into the middle of Frank's new scheme, caught between the KGB and the CIA in a fatal cat and mouse game that only one of the brothers is likely to survive.

Defectors is the gripping story of one family torn apart by the divided loyalties of the Cold War, but it's also a revealing look at the wider community of defectors, American and British, living a twilit Moscow existence, granted privileges but never trusted, spies who have escaped one prison only to find themselves trapped in another that is even more sinister. Filled with authentic period detail and moral ambiguity, Defectors takes us to the heart of a world of secrets, where no one can be trusted and murder is just collateral damage.
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About the Author-
  • Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of Leaving Berlin, Istanbul Passage, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 3, 2017
    Edgar-winner Kanon’s fast-moving, well-written espionage thriller offers few surprises for genre devotees. In 1949, after Frank Weeks, who worked for the Central Intelligence Group’s Office of Policy Coordination, was unmasked as a Soviet spy, his brother and confidante, Simon, was forced to resign from the State Department. Simon landed on his feet when he was hired by M. Keating & Sons, a publishing company he ends up running. In 1961, the brothers reunite in Moscow. Frank is writing his memoirs, which are to be published by M. Keating, and he’s asked his sibling to help him complete the book. Given that Frank cost Simon his career, the reunion is awkward, and their interactions are roiled further by Simon’s renewed connection with Frank’s wife, an old flame of his. Things get messier when Frank seeks to use Simon again, involving him in a complex scheme that leads to violence. As always, Kanon (Los Alamos) gets his period detail right and conveys the setting vividly, even if the characters’ depth isn’t at the same level as in his better outings. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners.

  • AudioFile Magazine Is Frank Weeks, who defected to Russia during the Cold War, a traitor or a CIA agent victimized by a poor decision? That is the central question in Joseph Kanon's gripping novel, masterfully narrated by John Bedford Lloyd, who employs a mix of accents and tones to provide a convincing complement to the book's dialogue. Set in Moscow in 1961, the story focuses on Frank's decision to defect after his brother, Simon, arrives from America to edit Frank's KGB-approved memoir. Is the plan real or another of Frank's games? Lloyd excels with his portrayal of the Russians, especially Boris, the bodyguard who must keep Frank from leaving his adopted country. Consequently, the listener must speculate about who, if anyone, is telling the truth. D.J.S. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 4, 2017
    It’s a pleasure to listen to actor Lloyd read this spy novel set in Europe in 1949. He manages Russian, Polish, and British accents that are convincing but not exaggerated. His pace is slow enough to be clear but quick enough to carry us along with Kanon’s fast-paced, if improbable, plot. Without becoming melodramatic, Lloyd conveys the narrative’s tension as the KGB and CIA commit treachery and murder. Through careful alterations of tone he reveals the deep fondness that protagonist Simon Weeks, a former State Department official turned book publisher, feels for his apparently double-defector brother, Frank, and his panic at finding himself engaged in violence and espionage because of Frank’s subtle and self-serving manipulation. The listener may have trouble suspending disbelief, but the story is fun, and Lloyd has narration down to a balanced and fine art. An Atria hardcover.

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