Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Ecco books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.
After the break up of the Soviet Union, a entire genre of fiction faced the possibility of extinction. Thanks to Alex Dryden and his Anna Resnikov novels, spy thriller fans can breath easy again. The Blind Spy, which came out in March, is Dryden's third in a series but can easily be read as a standalone novel.
Here's the publisher's summary:
Russia has never accepted Ukraine's independence and now the Patrioti—Putin, his elder statesmen, and seasoned generals dedicated to rebuilding their fallen empire—are using the KGB's controversial elite and clandestine forces of Department S to destabilize the young democratic nation and bring it back under Russian control.The Blind Spy starts in Damascus in the 1970s, when cold-war Soviet spy Lieutenant Valentin Viktorov discovers he has a son, the result of a one-night stand with a Syrian woman. After leaving the infant on the doorstep of an orphanage, Valentin returns to the USSR.
But Cougar, the powerful private intelligence company that overshadows even the CIA in its reach, learns of Russia's plans and strikes at the heart of its plot with its own lethal weapon—the gorgeous ex–KGB colonel Anna Resnikov. More than a gifted spy and expert killer, Anna lost the love of her life and the father of her child at the hands of her former countrymen. Her defection to Cougar has made her the most wanted woman in Russia, but she'll risk any danger to herself for the chance to destroy the evil that rules her homeland. And on the ground in Ukraine, she meets a formidable foe, a mysterious KGB spy whose aims are suspiciously unclear but whose power is unmistakably deadly.
The story then jumps to Moscow in Putin's Russia, where Valentin's son, Dmitry, is now in his late 30s and is himself an elite spy for his father's homeland. Dmitry, however, is no ordinary man; although he has been blind since birth, he is blessed with an almost psychic talent to disguise his disability. The current mission for Putin's Department S agents? To find a way to bring Ukraine back under Russian control.
Enter Anna Resnikov, ex-KGB officer now working for the West, whose task is to undermine Putin's plans. Once she's on the trail of the blind spy--or is it really that Dmitry's on her trail?--the action really takes off. Thanks to believable characterizations, twisty plots, and vivid descriptions, Dryden has successfully revived the spy vs. spy genre for twenty-first-century readers.
Now for some other opinions (click on the links for the full reviews):
- From Publishers Weekly: "Dryden’s personal knowledge and experience of both the British security services and Russia’s intelligence apparatus informs his fine third entry . . . in a series grounded less in physical action than in the twisting intellectual gamesmanship that makes the shadow world of espionage so compelling."
- From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "His thrillers are thus an extended clarion call to arms, despite their spy-thriller guise. And as guises go, Dryden's books are doozies. They're exceptionally intelligent examples of the genre."
- From BookLoons Reviews: "A former spy and international security expert turned novelist, [Dryden] knows what he's writing about and is able to wring every ounce of suspense and riveting action from his authentic thrillers."
Beth Fish Reads is proud to showcase Ecco books as a featured imprint on this blog. For more information about Ecco, please read the introductory note from Vice President / Associate Publisher Rachel Bressler, posted here on July 15, 2011. Find your next great read by clicking on Ecco in the scroll-down topics/labels list in my sidebar and by visiting Ecco books on Facebook and following them on Twitter.