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The Cambridge Theorem, by Tony Cape

The Cambridge Theorem: What Makes This So Special?

When The Cambridge Theorem was first published, one reviewer called it a “cross between John le Carré and P.D. James,” and it’s that combo, a police procedural grafted onto a complex espionage yarn, that makes the book so swell. Fans of espionage (le Carré and Eric Ambler) will love it, as will fans of the kind of police procedurals (Pascoe and Dalziel, say) where the characters come jumping off the page. The two elements amplify each others’ best characteristics: The espionage angle (involving a man who may have been betraying England since the 1930s) gets twistier, with the kinds of switchbacks and betrayals that fans of spy fiction live for. And the cop at the center of the story? He’s a second-generation ‘tec with a passion for Willie Nelson, cowboy boots and the minutiae of the Kennedy assassination, as rude and vivid as a splash of paint on a gray stone wall.  Oh, and if you’re looking for a present for your dad, the one who loves spooks and spies but has read everything in the field? Give him The Cambridge Theorem: you’ll make his day.

Nifty factoid:  The Cambridge Theorem is rooted in the true story of the Cambridge Spies, a group of four – or was it five? – young men of extraordinary appeal and privilege, who met at one of the world’s great universities and spent several decades handing England’s (and America’s) secrets over to the Soviet Union. If you’d like to learn more about them, Anthony Blunt, by Miranda Carter; and Treason in the Blood, by Anthony Cave Brown, are two very well crafted biographies of the men at the center of the ring. “The Cambridge Spies” is a highly engaging BBC miniseries, available on DVD; and take a look at “Another Country” (with Rupert Everett and Cary Elwes, both inexcusably beautiful), a fictionalized biography of Guy Burgess, the most flamboyant member of the Cambridge Spies.

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