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Mexico Set by Len Deighton
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Mexico Set (1984)

by Len Deighton

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8181116,962 (3.83)26
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Now on the shadowy East-West battlefield of Mexico City. British intelligence agent Bernard Samson must entice his opposite number, a disaffected KGB major, to take the final, dramatic step -- and defect. But the price of one Russian's freedom must be paid in blood -- blood that Samson unexpectedly and incriminatingly finds on his own hands. On every side, he becomes dangerously enmeshed in an intricate web of suspicion and hatred. Yet how can he fight when he doesn't know where to find his most determined enemies -- or even who they are?
  Cultural_Attache | Jul 18, 2018 |
Feels a bit too much like connective tissue in the trilogy, but the straightforward plot is welcome. Could've used a bit less touristy snarkiness about Mexico. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
After a colleague and friend runs into a Russian spy in Mexico, the agency sends Bernard Samson to “enroll” the Russian. Samson is too close to someone who recently went over to the other side, and he realizes that this assignment is a test of his loyalty. It seems that someone is doing his or her best to keep Samson from succeeding and to set him up as a traitor. But is it the KGB's doing, or someone on his own team? Samson will have to outwit both the Russian and his own side if he wants to keep his job, his children, and his home. This is the middle book in a trilogy, and the plot isn't as strong as the first book. It was too easy to put down, and that's not a good sign for a thriller. ( )
  cbl_tn | Dec 7, 2016 |
After the defection of his wife Bernard Sampson is left to prove that he is a loyal, company man. The way he is supposed to do this is by persuading a senior KGB agent to defect. The agent is spotted in Mexico City and Bernard plus colleague is sent out there to start the process of enrolment. Although Bernard grew up in Berlin and lives in London he is not particularly cosmopolitan. Len Deighton does an excellent job of having him reflect the typical English bloke of the time who doesn't like travel, foreigners or foreign food very much. He also does an excellent job of describing office politics and all the jockeying for position that goes on. Bernard clearly does not like many of his colleagues who have spent their working lives behind desk rather than in the field. I can sympathise, I recognise many of the characters from my working life and appreciate just how deadly a game it can be.

This is the middle book in a trilogy and very much feels like it. Well worth the read but best read in the correct order. ( )
  Hanneri | May 26, 2015 |
The trilogy - Berlin Game, Mexico Set, & London Match were first published in 1983 - 1985, only a generation ago, but they seem dated when read today. Apart from the obvious changes in technology - no mobile phones and no PCs - it is the smoking, the incessant drinking and the sexism that seem out of place.
Deighton's writing style seems more screenplay than novel. Just as a movie is often a distillation of the original novel, these books seem spare to a fault - nothing is included that is not needed for the plot. For example, when the hero's wife defects and leaves him with the children, the kids are not meetings for the next 100-odd pages, when their existence becomes important to the plot as a bargaining point.
I think that all Cold War era spy novels are inevitably compared with Le Carre books, and you can see the influence here. Deighton ties hard to be cerebral rather action-driven, but fails to be as convincing as Le Carre. But, interestingly, I found the flaws to lie in the action parts of the writing - the southeast seems comically inept, the spies drinking gallons of hard booze before, during and after field operations; the fact that there seems to be only 5 spores in MI6 etc etc.
But while there are minor quibbles, I enjoyed my trip back in time with Deighton and found the books hard to put down.
Read November 2013. ( )
  mbmackay | Nov 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Len Deightonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Settanni, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Some of these people want to get killed," said Dicky Cruyer as he jabbed the brake pedal to avoid hitting a newsboy.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586058214, Paperback)

Long-awaited reissue of the second part of the classic spy trilogy, GAME, SET and MATCH, when the Berlin Wall divided not just a city but a world. A lot of people had plans for Bernard Samson...When they spotted Erich Stinnes in Mexico City, it was obvious that Bernard Samson was the right man to 'enrol' him. With his domestic life a shambles and his career heading towards disaster, Bernard needed to prove his reliability. and he knew Stinnes already - Bernard had been interrogated by him in East Berlin. But Bernard risks being entangled in a lethal web of old loyalties and old betrayals. All he knows for sure is that he has to get Erich Stinnes for London. Who's pulling the strings is another matter...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A lot of people had plans for Bernard Samson. When they spotted Erich Stinnes in Mexico City, it was obvious that Bernard Samson was the right man to 'enrol' him. With his domestic life a shambles and his career heading towards disaster, Bernard needed to prove his reliability.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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