For those of us who love the genre, it is pleasing to see the espionage field coming in from the cold, with new talents appearing on a weekly basis and some of the older masters being dusted off for a welcome reappraisal. The talented Charles McCarry has, in fact, never really been away — but it is perhaps only recently that his considerable skills are being given their full acknowledgment. The recent re-appearance of his novels Old Boys and Christopher’s Ghosts (courtesy of Duckworth) have had the salutary effect of making readers look at this exemplary work again, and Second Sight is one of his most impressive novels. Richard Condon was a great McCarry admirer, and it is hard to argue with the advocacy of the author of The Manchurian Candidate. Master of espionage Paul Christopher is now living a secluded life with his wife in Washington, having survived the variety of investigations. But then he receives a call from an old friend in The Outfit, and is, inevitably, soon back in the fray of a dangerous game he thought he had left behind. Subtle, allusive and intelligent, Second Sight is required reading for those who consider the espionage field to be the genre of popular writing that most aspires to literary gravitas.

Second Sight is published by Duckworth

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