Books

The Prodigal Spy

The Prodigal Spy Joseph Kanon
Pub date 29th December 1998
Original publisher Broadway Books (US)
International publishers Lindhardt Ringhof (DK), Meulenhoff (NL), Gummerus Kustannus Oy (FI), Belfond (FR), Edicoes Asa II (PO).

Walter Kotlar is the epitome of the American dream, the son of working class immigrants who attends Yale and becomes part of the establishment, but he is caught up in the ’50s fear of the ‘red menace’ and forced to testify before the Committee on Un-American Activities. He seems a very unlikely Communist, but before the hearing is concluded he has disappeared - defected to the East - though not before the chief witness has committed ‘suicide’. 19 years later his son, Nick, receives a message that his father wants to see him in Prague. His first reaction is rejection and denial, but his memories and curiosity combined with a deep attraction for the messenger persuade him to risk the journey only a year after the Russian invasion. He discovers his father to be dying and eager to ‘come home’. He learns too that the events preceding Walter’s defection were not as simplistic as he’d thought, but before he can really work out what had happened his father is dead, probably murdered. Sure now that his father is more victim than villain, Nick knows he can only prove this in America, but he is stuck in a country where rules of evidence and justice are ignored and getting out is not going to be straightforward…

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