Red Swan

Red Swan

Book - 2017
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"Written with the authority of twenty-six years of military and government service at sea and in Washington, Red Swan is a brilliant, provocative thriller about the contemporary war that no one sees, but which will shape the future of America and China. Set in contemporary Washington D.C., Red Swan begins with an ominous phone call from Carson McGill, the Deputy Director of Operations in the CIA, to retired CIA officer Preston Allender. Henry Wallace is dead. A behind-the-scenes operator at the CIA, Wallace was integral to the Agency's secret war against China's national intelligence service, which infiltrates government and military offices, major businesses, and systems crucial to our security. Wallace had severely damaged China's Washington spy ring with a devastating ruse, a so-called "black swan," in which a deep-undercover female agent targeted and destroyed a key Chinese official. Now, Wallace's mysterious death suggests that the CIA itself has been compromised and that China has someone inside the Agency. But as Allender quietly investigates, he makes a shocking discovery that will upend the entire American intelligence apparatus. For Wallace's black swan operation may have been turned against the CIA; a Red Swan is flying and the question is: who is she, what is her target, and where will she land?"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250114082
125011408X
Branch Call Number: F DEUTE-P
Characteristics: vii, 294 pages ; 25 cm

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StarGladiator
Aug 28, 2017

Blockbuster of a read! Mix Graham Greene, John LeCarre and Thomas Perry and this is what you get! Ultra-clever book, probably nonfiction as a fictionalized account - - this guy knows his stuff! ! ! The author also has a keen knowledge of Chinese governance, not all that much different from American governance.
Finally, a spy thriller worth reading!
[And I write this comment as a vociferously anti-CIA type!]

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maucarden
Aug 18, 2017

A CIA consultant, the infamous psychiatrist Dr Preston Allender has helped initiate an operation designed to take out China's Ministry of State Security's (MSS) spy ring in Washington. The op targeting the Chinese spy ring involves a beautiful CIA agent, Melanie Sloan, enticing the head of the MSS, General Chiang, into a not- a -honey-trap, honey trap. Oh, this was good, worth the price of admission.
As punishment for the successful ops against the Chinese MSS, Dr Allender is asked to retire. Because, doncha know, the op interfered with White House interests and we know what flows down hill.
As they say though, payback is hell and payback begins a year later. Dr Allender is brought back to investigate the possible assassination of a CIA deputy director, Henry Wallace. I say possible, because when you can't determine cause of death and it is a deputy director, well... So begins payback against the CIA and the individual agents involved. The MSS does not seem to recognize the rules of The Great Game...you win some, you lose some. You don't take out individual agents because then it never stops, it becomes tit for tat.
Dr Allender is sent over to liaise with the FBI as they have been tasked by a Congresswoman to investigate the death of Wallace. Allender encounters Mel Sloan again, new Grace Kelly face and all, as she has been placed in that same Congresswoman's office for a smear op. BUZZ, we have a loser here. CIA can't run ops on American soil, and this one would never stay secret.
Sloan allies herself with Allender as they attempt to ward off the payback by the Chinese and the possibility of a traitor within the CIA.
Smoke and mirrors, hall of mirrors, nothing is as it seems. An intricate and intriguing story line.
Dr Preston Allender, he of the amber dragon eyes, he of the possible mind-reading abilities, and he of the rarefied interrogation skills is one of the more interesting characters to come down the pike in a long time. Mel Sloan is another character who has staying power, and is not just another pretty face. Either face.
I'm hoping this might be the first in a series featuring Dr Allender and Mel Sloan.
Red Swan reminds us of the greatest transfer of wealth in history, all from the PRC stealing most of our technology, both civilian and military. Not even from regular spies or traitors; just think if you were from the PRC and worked at Lawrence Livermore or NSA and someone from the MSS came to visit about the health of your parents.
One of my quibbles is that one of spies just doesn't ring true and it would be a bit of a spoiler to say why. It's also important in this book to keep in mind the difference between spy and traitor. Also at times the story seems a bit more convoluted than is necessary.
A fast paced, enjoyable read, with maybe something to teach us.
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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