Author Paul Vidich has once again proved his mastery of the espionage thriller with his edge-of-your-seat novel The Mercenary, which marks Vidich's fourth foray into the world of spies and intrigue.
Former CIA agent Aleksander Garin is recruited to help a senior KGB operative, known by the code name GAMBIT, escape from Moscow to Czechoslovakia. But there is a catch: He must also smuggle out GAMBIT’s wife and son.
To prove his worth and earn his freedom, GAMBIT is tasked with smuggling top-secret communiqués and papers to Garin. With the watchful eyes of the KGB and Russian loyalists all around him, the job is fraught with danger. As Vidich writes, “The lies had been harder to keep up, and he’d struggled to keep the layers of deception straight, knowing that a single mistake could be fatal.”
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When Garin becomes romantically interested in former Russian ballerina Natalya, who now works for the KGB, the risks multiply exponentially. Garin struggles with whom he can trust, including his contacts at the American Embassy, who have their own suspicions about Garin's loyalties and about his handler, CIA Station Chief George Mueller, who was previously expelled from Russia after a failed mission.
The Mercenary is fast paced and action packed, but Vidich lingers long enough to allow readers to experience Garin’s emotional highs and lows. In that regard, the novel deservedly draws comparisons to John le Carré’s tales of the intrepid spy George Smiley.