The Last Raven

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Sir Kenneth Aubrey has survived an attempt to discredit and destroy him, but the cost was high. As he was clearing himself of treason, one of his best agents, Patrick Hyde, was reported killed in Afghanistan. Unknown to Aubrey, Patrick is alive, but he is not confident that he will remain in that condition for long. Quite by accident, he is privy to information regarding collusion between the CIA and conservative elements within the Soviet Union—collaboration which results in the assassination of the wife of the Russian premier.

In consequence of the death of his wife, officially attributed to Muslim dissidents, the Russian premier reverts to rigid Stalinist precepts. If the grief-stricken premier is to learn the truth, Hyde must escape the sinister, all-encompassing grasp of a rogue unit within the CIA known as the “Carpetbaggers.” Meanwhile, in a related but indirect fashion, Aubrey’s niece Kathryn is abducted and held prisoner by the Carpetbaggers in a desperate attempt to draw Hyde into a murderous trap.

Craig Thomas has traveled considerable literary distance since his first best-seller, FIREFOX. Admittedly his novels still offer more action than cerebration, but elements of the latter are emerging. His plots are not as complex as those of Robert Ludlum, nor is his empathy with the difficulties of the “secret” life as profound as that of John le Carre. Nevertheless, THE LAST RAVEN will definitely serve to while away a cold winter’s eve, albeit an unexpected chill might travel the spine as the reader discerns the plausibility of the plot and reflects on how truth might imitate fiction.