Monday, August 1, 2011

The Mysterious Press 0-445-40709-3 (1986)

Title : Seeds of Treason
Author : Ted Allbeury
Cover art : Rolf Erickson (design); Sonja Lamut, Nenad Jakessivic (illustration)
   [N. Y. : Mysterious Press, 1986. Published in hardcover by The Mysterious Press. First published in U.K. by New English Library.]
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Spy vs. spy
The cover of Mysterious Press’s paperbound reissue of Seeds of Treason is nothing special; it’s a pleasingly eye-catching design which gets right to the Cold War bonafides of the story (I just love all that red!). But what is most of interest in Seeds is the discovery of espionage writer Ted Allbeury. From all accounts he was a relatively major figure in the post Ian Fleming/Graham Greene era of spy fiction but alas largely forgotten today. 
In any case Seeds is a very late in the day Cold War thriller, conventional but supremely competent, with serviceable characters, a tight plot and well-textured settings. But most notable is Allbeury’s lovingly drawn, convincingly detailed accounts of the mechanics of the spy business in all their rather mundane le Carré-esque glory [1]. 
[1] And sometimes not so mundane, as in the intellectually exotic concept of stochastic processes which figures peripherally in the story. Author Allbeury came by his espionage expertise honestly and it shows; think Peter Wright’s Spycatcher as fiction and you get an idea of the general tone and content of Seeds of Treason.

New English Library hardcover edition

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