Cover image for All the old knives
Title:
All the old knives
Author:
Steinhauer, Olen.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Minotaur Books, 2015.
Physical Description:
viii, 294 pages ; 20 cm
Summary:
"Nine years ago, terrorists hijacked a plane in Vienna. Somehow, a rescue attempt staged from the inside went terribly wrong and everyone on board was killed. Members of the CIA stationed in Vienna during that time were witness to this terrible tragedy, gathering intel from their sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground with a series of texts coming from one of their agents inside the plane. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how? Two of those agents, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and in fact that was the last night they spent together. Until now. That night Celia decided she'd had enough; she left the agency, married and had children, and is living an ordinary life in the suburbs. Henry is still an analyst, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all. But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised, and how? And each of them also wonders what role tonight's dinner companion might have played in the way things unfolded. All the Old Knives is Olen Steinhauer's most intimate, most cerebral, and most shocking novel to date from the New York Times bestselling author deemed by many to be John le Carré's heir apparent"--Publisher.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781250045423
Format :
Book

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FICTION Adult Fiction Military Fiction
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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA's Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?

Two of the CIA's case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she'd had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight's dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.

All the Old Knives is New York Times bestseller Olen Steinhauer's most intimate, most cerebral, and most shocking novel to date.


Author Notes

Olen Steinhauer was born in Baltimore, Maryland on June 21, 1970. He received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. After college, he spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright Grant. This experience helped provide the inspiration for his first five books. His works include The Bridge of Sighs, The Cairo Affair, All the Old Knives, and the Milo Weaver Series. In 2010, he received the Hammett Prize for best literary crime novel for The Nearest Exit.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Henry Pelham flies to Carmel-by-the-Sea for dinner with Celia Favreau, an old flame and former colleague at the CIA station in Vienna. He's hoping to answer a nagging question about Flight 127, a hijacking that ended in the worst way possible on their watch possibly with help from a mole. To all appearances, Celia has completely left the world of espionage and reinvented herself as a wealthy, doting mom in an exclusive community. But when the narrative switches points of view, we learn that Celia has her own perspective, her own questions, and her own objective, too. Steinhauer was inspired by the BBC/Masterpiece dramatization of Christopher Reid's poem The Song of Lunch and wondered whether he could write a compelling spy story that takes place at a restaurant table. He could, indeed, and My Dinner with Andre this ain't. Readers hooked on the jolt of adrenaline that typically accompanies Steinhauer's intelligent thrillers needn't fear the highfalutin backstory: though this does essentially take place over the course of a single meal, it delivers intrigue, suspense, and a heart-stopping finale. In his acknowledgments, Steinhauer tells us he wrote it in one month. You'll devour it in one night. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Steinhauer's last book, The Cairo Affair (2014), had a six-figure printing and a six-figure promotional budget, too, but this one seems even more likely to broaden his audience.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

A quiet dinner for two in an almost-empty restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., provides the frame for this terrific standalone thriller from Steinhauer (The Cairo Affair). Henry Pelham has arrived from Europe for a meeting with his former lover and CIA colleague, Celia Favreau, now retired and a mother of two, ostensibly to wrap up the "Frankler case." That's the code name for an internal investigation into "the 2006 Vienna Airport disaster," in which a militant Muslim group took a commercial jet hostage-and was apparently "aided by a source within the U.S. embassy." What is portrayed as a fact-finding evening unfolds into something much more dramatic. Henry still carries a torch for Celia, but their respective memories, and the interrelationships in the Vienna CIA office where they worked, demonstrate how the personal and the professional are so often mixed. There's great narrative energy in the thrust and counterthrust of the dinner conversation, as well as in the re-creation of the Viennese events; Steinhauer is a very fine writer and an excellent observer of human nature, shrewd about the pleasures and perils of spying. 150,000-copy first printing. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Celia and Henry, once an ardent couple in Vienna almost ready to live together, reunite years later for a "remember when" dinner in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. Both CIA agents at the time of their romance, the two had much in common besides their lusty appetites. Celia and Henry also had tricks up their sleeves that came in handy after the affair evaporated under the pressure of a horrific incident in which terrorists took over a passenger jet. Although the agents played different roles in the attempt to rescue the 172 hostages, everyone on board was killed. Discussing the incident at their sentimental supper, the couple pry into their suspicions that the rescue had been compromised, thus leading to shocking consequences. VERDICT This genre-bending spy novel takes Hitchcockian suspense to new heights. Over the course of a meal with flashbacks, the eternal questions of trust, loyalty, and authentic love are deftly dissected. Readers drawn to the story of a loving couple trapped in a terrible embrace will be thrilled to follow Henry and Celia's tortured pas de deux. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14; 150,000-copy first printing.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.