In Spycatcher, we were introduced to Will Cochrane – Spartan – the most lethal instrument in the arsenal of MI6. To become Spartan, and there is only one, Will had to pass a torturous year long training program of which all before him had failed.
All except one. The first Spartan was in deep cover in Russia for years and had established a complex network of contacts from lowly peasants to some in the highest levels of the military and the various renditions of the KGB. He also managed to survive 6 years of imprisonment and torture, never revealing his true identity or what he was doing.
But MI6 couldn’t be sure that their initial Spartan was still reliable after what he endured in prison so they cut back his authority and the freedom he had as Spartan, giving him a new assignment and code name – Sentinel.
One of Sentinel’s network is killed in remote Norway, leaving a cryptic message about a traitor and a plan to draw the US and Russia into a war. Cochrane is sent to find Sentinel, learn the details of the incomplete message, and stop this insane plot.
The head of the most elite unit of the Russian’s version of the SEALs (code name Razin) is picking off Sentinel’s top contacts one at a time. Spartan and Sentinel join forces to protect Sentinel’s network and kill Razin. But Razin stays one step ahead in his hunt and in a hand-to-hand confrontation, turns out to be Spartan’s equal – something Spartan’s never experienced before.
Razin’s plan, if successful, will probably work. The idea is to make a routine military maneuver look like an attack on Russian soil, thereby prompting a Russian response.
This is #2 in the Spycatcher series (the third Dunn book I’ve read) and Dunn tells us more and more about Cochrane’s history and how he came to be recruited and to become Spartan. Dunn delivers the goods in a way that only one who has been there can. If I had to nitpick, it would be in his overly long description of a stakeout and pursuit by his team of spooks. In Spycatcher, it was riveting. In Sentinel, it’s bordering on repetitious. Hope the same scenario doesn’t turn up in the next book, Sling Shot. But that won’t stop me from reading Sling Shot or Counterspy, the next 2 books in this series.
East Coast Don