Triple Cross (by Tom Bradby)

Triple Cross (by Tom Bradby)Triple Cross is the thrilling finale to Tom Bradby’s Secret Service trilogy (early review copy courtesy of Penguin Random House). Double Agent is also reviewed here. As outlined in the Double Agent review: “Kate is a UK spy trying to land a senior Russian spy who wishes to defect. He has allegedly knowledge of the PM’s deviant sexual behaviour and financial evidence of bribes received from his Russian masters. In the background, there is a mole leaking information to the Russians. Kate’s husband was believed to be the original culprit but he is now resident in Moscow. But could there be another mole at a senior level?”

Kate is back with her husband in France but life is difficult and Kate is not sure if there is a future with her husband. He is not allowed back into the UK. Meanwhile, the PM’s position is shaky as he is facing a no-confidence vote, and a minister is trying to usurp his position. He needs to clear his name fast and believes Kate can establish who the mole is at senior level and disprove the fake news undermining his status. Where have we heard that before?

Kate is bribed by the promise that her husband will be pardoned if she can help the PM. It soon appears that there are 3 people in the frame as the mole: ex Spy chief Sir Alan, current “C” Ian and even Kate herself. Who can Kate trust? The plot develops well as Kate follows up leads in Istanbul and Moscow. The tension builds as she narrows down her search but interference at the top-level makes the task difficult and risky. In a final attempt, Kate and her team undertake a mission in Russia to extract their own mole in Moscow and discover information that will reveal the senior mole in the UK. The mission goes wrong and there is a mad dash to the border with her husband. By now you are page-turning as fast as the car chase. The information recovered is critical and reveals the identity of the UK mole – needless to say, you will not see it coming!

The story is very topical with “familiar” events in the UK and the wider world; like an intriguing visit of our PM to an Epstein-like paedophile’s island. Kate is not James Bond although she has her fair share of bed-hopping. In fact, she is more Smiley than Bond. The strategy and tactics of the spies are intriguingly written but the mores of spies and politicians are more worrying! Bearing in mind Tom Bradby’s access to this world, it is probably accurate!

I did not think the extensive travelogues of Istanbul and Moscow were necessary, but thoroughly enjoyed this well-paced thriller.

Publication Date: 13th May 2021

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