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American Spy: a Cold War spy thriller like you've never read before

Lauren Wilkinson

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Thriller / suspense

A black female spy goes undercover in Cold War-era Africa in this acclaimed thriller about race, loyalty, espionage and love, inspired by true events.

Chosen as a 'book of the year' by Daily Telegraph, The Times, Time magazine, Sunday Times Crime Club and the Guardian.



'A whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love and of country'
'There has never been anything like it' MARLON JAMES (GQ)
'A compelling read' MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Pacy and very exciting' DAILY TELEGRAPH

What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love?

It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War. Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant and talented, but she's also a black woman working in an all-white boys' club, and her career has stalled with routine paperwork - until she's recruited to a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention.

In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, and a good American.

'A stunning book' PAUL BEATTY
'Intelligent and propulsive' GUARDIAN
'A spy thriller like you've never read before' TIME

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Praise for American Spy: a Cold War spy thriller like you've never read before

  • A gutsy new thriller . . . challenging boundaries is what brave fiction does, and Wilkinson proves confident enough to carry it off - New York Times

  • For the novel's engaging intelligence and serious reckoning with the world's postwar order, Wilkinson deserves the comparisons to John le Carre she's already receiving. But in bringing a virtually unheard-from fictional viewpoint to espionage literature, she has reinvigorated the genre - Time

  • An intelligent and propulsive debut tackles issues of politics, race, gender and moral ambiguity - Guardian

  • Mitchell is an engaging, complex protagonist: feisty and brave but also vulnerable . . . The scenes of New York and African life are sharply observed, the narrative often lyrical. This is an impressive debut, with a multi-faceted and engaging protagonist - Financial Times

  • Wilkinson paints a convincing and lively portrait of this fascinating real-life figure. A non-privileged protagonist in this poshest of genres is rare enough to make that the USP, but by any standards this is a fine thriller, thoughtful and dryly witty, richly textured and, when required, pacy and very exciting - Daily Telegraph

  • A whole lot more than just a spy thriller, wrapping together the ties of family, of love and of country

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Lauren Wilkinson

Lauren Wilkinson grew up in New York City and lives in the Lower East Side. She earned her MFA in Fiction and Literary Translation from Columbia University and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has received writing fellowships from the Center for Fiction and the MacDowell Colony, and her fiction has appeared in Granta.

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