The Mulberry Bush by Charles McCarry

The Mulberry BushA spy novel that involves many, many people and many, many happenings. So many times I was prone to put it down and forget about it but there was something there always drawing me back.

McCarry has built quite a tale about spies and the spying business. He seems to have done it while all the while keeping parts of it to himself. As an example one has to work hard to find the real name of the main character of the book.

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This character is a well-learned individual with a vast knowledge of foreign languages and the ability to quickly learn new ones as he is pushed into their stead. He has finished his college career with extremely high marks and though he plans to go into some business he isn’t sure what.

Strangely enough he seems to quickly get routed into Headquarters. That is in fact exactly where he wanted to go. The simple name Headquarters stood for the spy network that was run by the U.S. government although no one knew of it or about it except those who worked in it (and probably those who funded it?).

He got invited in a curious way but it was all because his father had not only worked in Headquarters but actually for quite a spell was one of the most respected (by many of his compatriots). However his father in one of his jocular moods (which he supposedly had many of from time to time) pulled a caper which put him directly against the top dogs. So boom! He was drummed out but strangely enough many of his cohorts still believed him to have been one of the best and felt he had been treated very unfairly.

This then became a driving interest for the son. He would not only get into Headquarters (which seemed to have come easily) but he would work his way up and be one of the best agents they had. And then he would drop one on them to make up for their treatment of his father.

After several lead in assignments he is basically put into a position in Argentina where he is given the task of not only working as a spy trying to figure out who, why, and how someone is trying to incite or rekindle a revolution that was but is now past. It appears that the primary enemy is going to be Russian so he now has to get that language improved in his vocabulary but also learn several others as he works his way into the network.

Strangely enough, other than the help of an Argentine woman whom he ends up marrying, most of his endeavors are brought about either through chess matches or long distance running while accompanying the Russian spies.

All in all it is an interesting book but with a bit too much sex and quite a bit of reading to really get into the depths of the story. For some reason I was unable to quit on it and truly believe after reading it that it was well worth the effort!

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