Author Adrian d’Hage is a former Australian Military Officer, achieving the rank of Brigadier before leaving the armed forces in late 2000 to pursue a career as a novelist.
In his latest book, d’Hage has written a novel which many would see as being of its time, featuring an egomaniacal US President, a power hungry Russian President and a call to (nuclear) arms which is resoundingly loud and clear.
The ideas of both sides are that a nuclear option will lead to a stronger hold on their respective positions of power. Thus, the Russians recruit an agent of their own to assist in the development of a better nuclear weapon. As the saying goes, there are old warriors and cold warriors, but no old, cold warriors so, why not bring back the Cold War.
Into the mix comes the obligatory terrorism connection, ISIS, who are champing at the bit to obtain nuclear capability and ramp up their infidel eradication agenda. It has all the ingredients of a modern-day/classic spy thriller. The more things change the more they stay the same.
The key protagonist, CIA operative Connor Curtis, is pitted in a race against time following the pursuits of a Russian scientist whose approach is deadly, in more ways than one. She is keenly clever and committed to outsmarting the men whose orders she has accepted.
This is a novel which straddles the globe, whilst targeting the most obvious of Middle Eastern and Russian locations and giving us characters with attitudes that we all can recognise… hopefully without too much certainty of their future directions.
The Russian Affair is d’Hage’s fifth novel and his fourth featuring CIA operative Connor Curtis. This is the only aspect of the novel which leaves new readers lacking – there is a lot of interpersonal activity and referencing, which makes a newbie feel like they’ve missed something. With that in mind, it’s certainly a good motivator to pick-up d’Hage’s earlier works and familiarise yourself with Connor’s (and the rest of his team’s) background, history and exploits.
Reviewed by Glen Christie
Distributed by: Penguin Random House Australia
Released: July 2018
RRP: $32.99 trade paperback, $12.99 eBook
Rating out of 10: 7