Most crime novels are not regarded as ‘serious literature’, but Undercurrent carries a very serious reminder that treasonous moles into our Intelligence Services and Government are an everpresent possibility. Undercurrent is enjoying a happy timing, much as The 39 Steps did with regards to foreign spies, by having its publication chiming with the possibility China may be seeking a purchase on Britain’s energy needs. The plot is entirely plausible, the characterisation convincing and the writing keeps the reader avidly turning the pages. Governments usually keep much of their deep operations very secret, but novels suffer no such constraints and can shed light on a shadowy world that reflects ‘real politik’. A killer who is also a nymphomaniac is entirely plausible, since psychopaths need to find a release from stress. Again, we know from the moles who worked for the Soviets, that young people who have been ‘turned’ can persist as agents for their professional lifetime. Hence the truth in the plot. Undercurrent is both a good read and a potent reminder that we live in a deeply competitive world. It is enjoyable but sobering, and should be widely read. It makes Brexit look parochial!
Pablo Foster 29/7/16