A Single Spy

Written by William Christie
Review by Elicia Parkinson

It is 1936 in Soviet Azerbaijan when we meet Alexsi, a 16-year-old orphan who has managed to survive on his own because he can read and write, pick locks, and speak Russian and Farsi. When Alexsi is caught and sent to the secret police, they are just as interested in these skills. Alexsi is given the “opportunity” to join State Security as a secret agent in Nazi Germany. If he agrees, in return they will provide well for him. The position teaches him even greater skills and allows him to interact with a variety of people (more often than not female).

Alexsi’s story unfolds for the reader through flashbacks in time to the orphanage where he has his first sexual experience. While Alexsi’s history is pretty unbelievable, the plot moves quickly, and there is plenty of action, especially that of a carnal and explicit nature. The author manages to express just how dangerous the work of a spy in the 1930s in the Soviet system and Nazi Germany could be. As Alexsi proves himself trustworthy, he is chosen by the Gestapo to be in charge of an effort to assassinate Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt at the Tehran Convention in 1943, also known as Operation Long Jump.

The character of Alexsi does not speak or behave like any 16-year-old I have ever met, and there is no real difference between his 16-year-old personality or behavior and that of 12-year-old Alexsi in the orphanage. Without any formal training, Alexsi’s skills at that age surpass that of any adult spy. While based on research by the author, it seems the historical information about Operation Long Jump is of greater interest than a fictional account of the same.

The story will appeal to fans of James Bond and other espionage or spy thrillers where the action and sex is of more interest to the reader than the historical context, character development, or realistic dialogue.