So, Philip Pullman rates this book as the best thriller he has read. He’s not wrong. The book is amazing. We have a classic spy tale with stacks of detail. The detail is firmly anchored with the character and this makes all the difference. This book is not about the cleverness of what the spy is trying to uncover but the sheer audacity of how he goes about his work. This book is about the process of being a spy and that sets it apart. It’s not trying to tell us all about what is being hidden in the Siberian wastes (although we we given an outline), and so much more could have been developed on that thread. It truly is a character driven novel and once the character is under your skin you simply can’t let him go.
This is right up there with my favourite book of all time “Miss Smillas feeling for snow” and I may have to read this again as a result.