Information about the author.
With a sharp eye for the pathos and absurdity of the Cold War, Robert Littell crafted his first novel, the now legendary spy thriller The Defection of A.J. Lewinter. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times called it “a perfect little gem, the best Cold War thriller I’ve read in years,” and the praise kept coming with critics hailing Littell as “the American Le Carré” (New York Times) and raving that his books were “as good as thriller writing gets” (The Washington Post).
For his fourteenth novel, Robert Littell creates an engrossing, multigenerational, wickedly nostalgic yet utterly candid saga, bringing to life through a host of characters-historical and imagined-the over 40 years of the CIA-”the Company” to insiders. At the heart of the novel is a stunningly conceived mole hunt involving such rivals and allies as the MI6, KGB, and Mossad. …[more]
Martin Odum is a CIA field agent turned private detective, struggling his way through a labyrinth of past identities—”legends” in CIA parlance. Is he really Martin Odum? Or is he Dante Pippen, an IRA explosives maven? Or Lincoln Dittmann, Civil War expert? These men like different foods, speak different languages, have different skills. Is he suffering from multiple personality disorder, brainwashing, or simply exhaustion? Can Odum trust the CIA psychiatrist? Or Stella Kastner, a young Russian woman who engages him to find her brother-in-law so he can give her sister a divorce.
As Odum redeploys his dormant tradecraft skills to solve Stella’s case, he travels the globe battling mortal danger and psychological disorientation. Part ‘Three faces of Eve’, part ‘The Spy Who Came in From the Cold’, and always pure Robert Littell, Legends—from unforgettable opening to astonishing ending—again proves Littell’s unparalleled prowess as a seductive storyteller.
This is Littell at the top of his form, constructing a tale of espionage and counterespionage that reveals the dirty tricks and dangerous secrets concerning the subjects he knows intimately—The CIA and American history, past and present.
At the center of Littell’s plot is an elite plan, so secret and so dangerous that its existence is known only to a tiny group of specialists within the CIA headquarters. There is virtually no paper trail—but, somehow, the plan has sprung a leak. The plotters most urgently trace it—or face deadly consequences. Meanwhile, at work elsewhere on another highly sensitive project for “the Company” is an operative known as “the Weeder”—a man obsessed with American history and one of its heroes. When the Weeder’s and Washington’s clandestine world collide, the present faces the past and disturbing moral choices are weighed against a shining patriotic dream. What is the truth? Whose truth should be revealed?