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The Sixth Directorate Paperback – 19 June 2014
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- Publisher : Faber & Faber; Main edition (19 June 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 350 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0571315658
- ISBN-13 : 978-0571315659
- Dimensions : 12.6 x 2.24 x 19.79 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Joseph Hone, born 1937, is a novelist, journalist and broadcaster. Faber Finds publishes his four Peter Marlow spy thrillers - The Private Sector, The Sixth Directorate, The Valley of the Fox and The Flowers of the Forest, plus the stand-alone thriller The Paris Trap and the autobiographical Children of the Country.
Finds' editions of the four Marlow thrillers as well as The Paris Trap each feature a new preface about Hone and his work by the contemporary spy novelist and non-fiction author Jeremy Duns.
As a writer of spy thrillers, Joseph Hone has been compared favourably with the likes of Eric Ambler, Len Deighton and John le Carre. His most recent book, Wicked Little Joe, is a memoir published by Lilliput Press.
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Top reviews from other countries
However, I think it's difficult to compare this with Le Carre, Deighton etc. who write in the same genre as I think it would be hard to make a film or TV series given the insights and feelings displayed in the written word.
Joseph Hones other 'Peter Marlow' books are equally well written and worth reading.
“(A couple) always that little bit off-beam with each other. And of course soon that means you’re going in totally different directions – heading straight for two different sets of rocks.” – from THE SIXTH DIRECTORATE
“There’s dissolution in every new face you meet. That’s all it amounts to. And the vanity of thinking otherwise, of needing to be unique and indispensable. And we’re not. And we don’t care for that truth.” – from THE SIXTH DIRECTORATE
“… it’s never what we are but what we never could be that keeps us going.” – from THE SIXTH DIRECTORATE
THE SIXTH DIRECTORATE is the second of four books in the series by Joseph Hone featuring his protagonist, the British Secret Intelligence Service’s spy, Peter Marlow.
THE SIXTH DIRECTORATE begins in Moscow in the first half of the 1980s during the tenure of Yuri Andropov as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Here, Yuri and the heads of the five KGB Directorates are concerned about evidence which points to the existence of a “Sixth Directorate” embedded within the KGB and planning to take over the organization and liberalize the U.S.S.R.’s social policies. Well, we can’t have that, can we? Privately, Andropov believes the head of this phantom directorate is the chief of one of the other five, so he activates a plan to put his quarry on the run and ultimately reveal the names of all the plotters.
Back in England, Peter Marlow is released from prison after serving four years of a twenty-eight year sentence for being a double agent within the Secret Intelligence Service. But the SIS now knows it was wrong about Marlow (No hard feelings, old boy, what) and have a new assignment for him – to assume the identity of another captured double agent working for Moscow and go to New York to assume a position within the United Nations Secretariat where it’s expected he’ll be given a list of KGB sleeper agents in the United States by the “postman” who handles their messages to and from Moscow. Seems a simple enough job, though Peter has his doubts.
Any reader who’s gotten this far into the Marlow series realizes that Peter is no James Bond, Quiller, or George Smiley. He’s not even the bumbling Maxwell Smart. Rather, he seems more suited to a desk job as an intelligence analyst. Given a field assignment, he trudges forward with determination to do the job at hand. “Keep calm and carry on” and all that.
The Marlow novels are character driven to an extreme. And, in the characters’ development, Peter thinks upon things hard; he’s no man of action. Through his hero, author Hone occasionally reveals some talent for philosophizing about life in general.
The selling point of the series is that the plots are exercises in smoke and mirrors where absolutely nothing is as it seems. Indeed, at the conclusion of THE SIXTH DIRECTORATE when Marlow’s SIS boss explains the “reality” of the situation, after I thought about it some I have the suspicion that all were fooled.
I intend to continue with the series. Though lacking in action, the storylines are perhaps the thinking man’s delight.