British spy Elliot Kane is forced out of semi-retirement to investigate a colleague’s suspicious death on Ascension Island, a remote and rocky outpost of the British military in the middle of the Atlantic.
Despite uncovering a deep plot to incite a new world war, Elliot Kane has been on probation with the service since his misadventures in Kazakhstan. Having taken up a job teaching college literature and linguistics, he surprisingly enjoys living a conventional life and wonders if he would even go back to spycraft. Then a colleague from an ages-ago mission reaches out with a request. One of her tech specialists was on a long-term mission, in deep cover, but has suddenly killed himself. The agency is afraid to finish this vital mission without knowing what prompted this seemingly healthy man to take his own life. The carrot in this offer is helping his old friend; the stick is a worse punishment from the Agency if he doesn’t comply. So Elliott poses as an academic researcher and heads to one of the most remote places on the planet, Ascension Island.
Arriving on a rocky, barely livable island located in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Brazil and Angola, Kane is unsure whom to trust and why this lonely outpost is so important to the British military . . . until he uncovers dangerous secrets that lead straight back to London’s highest offices.
PRAISE FOR A SHADOW INTELLIGENCE
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF 2020
“Thought-provoking...there’s certainly more than enough sharp writing and provocative content in this initial adventure to justify a sequel.”
—Wall Street Journal
“This may be the deepest a contemporary spy novel has penetrated the cold new world of dark web intelligence and cellphone surveillance…. An absorbing, superbly written novel likely to stand as one of the best spy novels of the year.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Oliver Harris is always pure quality and I’m loving the hell out of his foray into the contemporary spy novel. Elegant and compulsive.”
“Elliot Kane needs his wits about him to keep track of his own identities and those of fellow MI6 agent Joanna, who he's looking for in Kazakhstan. The binary simplicity of the Cold War has been replaced by a geopolitical Rubik's cube of corruption, nationalism, oil money and internet deceit. Tremendous evocation of modern Kazakhstan and the contemporary intelligence landscape. Scary if true, or even half true.”
—Sunday Times Crime Club, star pick
“Elliott Kane is an unusually thoughtful spy . . . As much a thinker as a doer, Kane has much in common with le Carré's Jerry Westerby or Lionel Davidson's Johnny Porter, a plausibly multi-faceted old school operator with the skills—physical, psychological, intellectual—to negotiate the geopolitical fault lines of central Asia as Russia and China square up over Kazahstan's untapped oil reserves.”
“A Middle East specialist, flies to Astana in Kazakhstan to search for his former colleague and lover Joanna, and gets caught up in the jostling for power, deals and intelligence in a city portrayed as becoming a 21st-century mecca for spooks . . . Classier writing, fresher characters, original setting, a real sense of insider lore (on both spycraft and geopolitics).”
“A splendid thriller with new perspectives on places and the distinctly unclean side of the great game of espionage.”
—Crime Time (Blog)
“A gripping, fast-moving and intelligent novel from new spy fiction star Oliver Harris which will leave readers wanting a lot more Elliot Kane adventures.”
“Elliot Kane is highly-trained MI6 spook. So highly-trained that he's pretty much forgotten who the hell he really is after years of false identities and subterfuge . . . In a deadly world of deception by just about every nasty state, and that includes his own, he's truly up against it in this complex thriller that keeps you on your toes throughout."
—Sunday Sport, four stars
“An intelligent and thoroughly researched spy-procedural giving razor-sharp insight into the particular challenges of 21st-century espionage."
“A twisting spiral of lies and corruption, a pitch-perfect portrait of contemporary London and a beguiling bastard of a hero.”
—Val McDermid on The Hollow Man
You have selected a product that is available for purchase only by a customer with an Educational Institution account. If you have an Educational Institution account, please sign out and sign back in using an Educational Institution account email address and password.
For inquiries concerning bulk purchases for corporate use, sales incentives, or nonprofit sales, please email our Special Sales department at TradeSales@hmhco.com.