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With this successor to Faith and Hope, British spy Bernard Samson has used up nine lives as the hero of three trilogies. Yet he, and Deighton, remain full of vitality. In his latest depiction of the hermetic world of English spies, "all those inscrutable public-school ruffians," Deighton brings us up to 1988. Because Deighton's work is an evolving saga of spycraft channeled through Samson's life and times, readers unfamiliar with the earlier books may feel like newcomers at a dinner party for old friends. As Deighton regulars appear-including Samson's tortured, rising intelligence star, Fiona; her vulgar father; department members Dicky, Bret and Gloria; Samson's mentor, Silas; and his boyhood pal, Werner-there's a lot of hashing and re-hashing of old and new murders, a dying ex-spy and a missing lockbox. Quickly enough, all readers will be swept up by the complicated plot and by Samson's sly asides: "Maps are of course the décor adopted by men reluctant to display their taste in art"; an American Anglophile's car "was tall and angular, built in those days before every Rolls wanted to squat down and look like a Mercedes." Despite an ending that is surprisingly mild, this tale, like those before it, is well crafted and reliably satisfying. $100,000 ad/promo; simultaneous HarperPaper publication of Hope; U.K., translation rights: Brie Burkeman; first serial and dramatic rights: Jonathan Clowes. (Dec.)

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