A Hooded Crow

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Sir Kenneth Aubrey, that grand old man of British Intelligence who first appeared in FIREFOX, has not fully recovered from the physical and psychic injuries sustained in THE LAST RAVEN. While he is on the mend, the British government is somewhat uncertain what to do with the organization he created or the agents he trained. Inasmuch as its traditional antagonist, the Soviet Union, is disintegrating into its component parts, it seems obvious that some individuals must be reassigned, and others quietly retired with appreciation and a pension. Unfortunately for bureaucratic harmony, three of Aubrey’s best are not inclined to “go gentle into that good night.”

For one thing, Richard Anderson, a ghost from Aubrey’s checkered past stumbles across evidence that the KGB is involved in the transfer of highly sensitive material to elements in South Africa dedicated to reversing the move to majority rule in that nation. This discovery provides additional reasons for Patrick Hyde and Tony Godwin to pursue their investigation of a politically influential British corporation. Needless to say, Hyde and Company face obstruction from their superiors as well as active—and lethal—opposition from the KGB and the South African extremists.

The politics of change in Eastern Europe have produced corresponding alterations in the creation of works in the thriller genre. Some authors continue to mine the Cold War past, some create new villains, while a few recognize that espionage transcends transitory political quarrels. Craig Thomas is one who continues to insist that espionage is the oldest profession. Thus, A HOODED CROW represents one of the better examples of the new thriller. Thomas is able to sustain the multiple story lines required in a work of this type without leaving the reader too long in doubt as to events elsewhere. Moreover, his plot is not only plausible but intriguing as well.