Berlin, 1963. An espionage thriller set at the height of the Cold War.  Martin Keller, an imprisoned American who has spied for the KGB,  is offered a spy swap to return to East Berlin.  Eager to reunite with his ex-wife and their young son, he leaps at this chance for freedom.  But has he just exchanged one prison for another?  Who has asked for him?  Who arranged the deal?  The KGB? And what do they want from him now, all these years later? Intriguing and atmospheric, with action rising to a dangerous climax, Kanon’s latest thriller confirms his standing as a “master of the genre”
– The Washington Post

From “master of the genre” (The Washington Post) Joseph Kanon, an espionage thriller set at the height of the Cold War, when a captured American who has spied for the KGB is swapped by the British and returns to East Berlin needing to know who arranged his release and what they want from him.

Berlin. 1963. The height of the Cold War. An early morning spy swap, not at the familiar setting for such exchanges, or at Checkpoint Charlie, where international visitors cross into the East, but at a more discreet border crossing, usually reserved for East German VIPs. The Communists are trading two American students caught helping people to escape over the wall and an aging MI6 operative. On the other side of the trade: Martin Keller, a physicist who once made headlines, but who then disappeared into the English prison system. Keller’s most critical possession: his American passport. Keller’s most ardent desire: to see his ex-wife Sabine and their young son.

The exchange is made with the formality characteristic of these swaps. But Martin has other questions: who asked for him? Who negotiated the deal? The KGB? He has worked for the service long enough to know that nothing happens by chance. They want him for something. Not physics—his expertise is out of date. Something else, which he cannot learn until he arrives in East Berlin, when suddenly the game is afoot.

Filled with intriguing characters, atmospheric detail, and plenty of action Kanon’s latest espionage thriller is one you won’t soon forget.




Published by Scribner USASimon & Schuster UK, and Simon & Schuster Audio

A Cold War thriller worthy of Graham Greene.“–The Times (UK)


Heart-poundingly suspenseful.”

–The Washington Post


Thoroughly absorbing, a thoughtful and subtle evocation of a place and era.”

–The Sunday Telegraph


“A novel that gives paranoia a new name, Kanon’s latest in a brilliant collection may be his most tightly rendered. The suspense builds quietly, almost stealthily, before tightening its grip.

Another super sophisticated spy thriller from a ranking master.

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review


Riveting…genuine suspense, including an exciting variation on the border-crossing theme, combine beautifully with moving psychological drama.”

Booklist, STARRED review


“A tense spy thriller… Kanon balances a convincing portrayal of spycraft with fleshed-out characters, while vividly depicting the impact of secret lives on the loved ones of those engaged in espionage.”

Publishers Weekly


“A master stylist of concise yet eloquent writing, Kanon recreates the corrupt atmosphere of East Berlin in 1963, to riveting effect…Kanon’s books are a gold mine for lovers of espionage…Fans of Alan Furst and John le Carré will include Kanon as the third member of a Cold War troika.”

Library Journal

“He hadn’t done it for her, the spying. But he wouldn’t have done it alone.”