Tom Rob Smith—the bestselling, award-winning author of Child 44, and one of the most critically-acclaimed new writers of our time—returns with a thrilling and provocative new novel: Agent 6.
How far would you go to solve a crime against your family?
It is 1965. Leo Demidov, a former secret police agent, is forbidden to travel with his wife and daughters from Moscow to New York. They are part of a "Peace Tour," meant to foster closer relations between the two Cold War enemies. On the tour, Leo's family is caught up in a conspiracy and betrayal that ends in tragedy. In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands one thing: that he be allowed to investigate and find the attacker that struck at the heart of his family on foreign soil. From the highest levels of the Soviet government, he is told No, that is impossible. Leo is haunted by the question: what happened in New York?
In a surprising, epic story that spans decades and continents—from 1950s Moscow to 1960s America to the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s—Leo's long pursuit of justice will force him to confront everything he ever thought he knew about his country, his family, and himself.
This historical mystery thriller installment of Agent 6 concludes the Leo Demidov trilogy with a very different approach and style then its predecessors. Not only will it come to the end of Leo’s career and possibly life, but we are also reading in timelines before Child 44 and after.
Leo meets his future wife while staging a sham tour of the Soviet system for American singer and communist activist Jesse Austin. At chance and surprised, Raisa plays her part as she has been thrown in to the mix to not blow the MGB’s cover. From there she now was involved. And once involved…always involved.
Leo and Raisa have been married for over 10 years and their adopted girls are teenagers. Through school, the girls get the opportunity to travel to the United States and participate in the Good Will tour concert in New York. Raisa will accompany the girls, and Leo is letting them go reluctantly. He knows it will be very difficult to get in touch with them, as phone calls require permission and are controlled.
New York, 1965:
Accompanying the class is Mikael Ivanov, a propaganda expert, working for Service A. He uses his influence to manipulate Elena, Leo’s daughter, to stage Jesse Austin outside the UN concert after the event for speeches. And this is where things go awry. Not all of his family members return from this trip.
After a failed attempt in the 70’s to cross to the border of Finland to travel to the US and investigate what happened in NY the day of the concert, Leo is sent to Afghanistan. He finds himself in a deep hole and becomes opium addicted.
During his training of Communist Afghans to serve in the secret police, he meets beautiful 23-year-old Nara. Ousted by her family for her views and ‘modern’ lifestyle, she attaches herself to Leo. During a local attack from Soviets, the two of them save a little girl and they are taken hostage by Afghan rebels. In the exchange to spare their lives, they bargain asylum in America for the cause of American support.
The little girl and Nara are adjusting very well in their new home. Leo is investigating secretly what happened to his family in New York in 1965. And...of course, there was a cover up and distortion of facts by the media. Agent Jim Yates, a former agent Leo worked with turns up in his investigation and more or less tells him about a Soviet plot meant to bring about a racially-motivated Communist revolution in America that went all wrong.
This is where Leo gets the call that someone in his family back home is being questioned about his defection and with Nara and the girl safe in America and their new life, he leaves them to return to Russia.
We find Leo arrested as a traitor and imprisoned at the end of the book. But if he can change the situation, that is the question here….
I enjoyed this novel, although it was so much different from the previous ones. Initially confused at the beginning as it starts off with a very young Leo, I was not even sure who I was reading about! But after a little while I got into the ever-changing landscape of the plot that takes you all over the world.
Unlike the reviews with lower ratings, I was accepting of the changes of it. I had purposefully not read the synopsis and as with many of my reads, I tried to go in open minded.
Although it was different and I may have missed a bit more of the family dynamics happening, I was surprised how politically motivated this book was more so then the others. For that and tying it together at the end, I have to give Tom Rob Smith credit. It could have gone a whole other way for me. I had not imagined any of these things happen in the series. But that is why we read, right?