George V. Reilly

Review: Old Boys

Old Boys
Title: Old Boys
Author: Charles McCarry
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Orion Books
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 484
Keywords: thriller
Reading period: 11–15 June, 2009

Paul Christo­pher, sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­an and former superspy, was last seen in a remote Chinese province. His ashes are delivered to his cousin Horace, also a retired spy, who is not convinced that the ashes belong to Paul. Then he learns that Paul is on the trail of Ibn Awad, a mad sultan with nukes who covets a first-century manuscript (a Roman spymaster’s report on Jesus) that is thought to be in the possession of Paul’s 94-year-old mother, who hasn’t seen since 1940, when she was abducted by the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich. So Horace recruits a handful of creaky-kneed retired spies and goes after Paul.


If you can get over the wild im­prob­a­bil­i­ty of the plot, it’s actually well-written, coherent, and plausible on its own terms.

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