Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Moscow Exile

A Joe Wilderness Novel

by John Lawton

From “quite possibly the best historical novelist we have” (Philadelphia Inquirer), the fourth Joe Wilderness spy thriller, moving from Red Scare-era Washington, D.C. to a KGB prison near Moscow’s Kremlin

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 448
  • Publication Date April 18, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5802-4
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $28.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date April 18, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5804-8
  • US List Price $28.00

In Moscow Exile, John Lawton departs from his usual stomping grounds of England and Germany to jump across the Atlantic to Washington, D.C., in the fragile postwar period where the Red Scare is growing noisier every day.

Charlotte is a British expatriate who has recently settled in the nation’s capital with her second husband, a man who looks intriguingly like Clark Gable, but her enviable dinner parties and soirées aren’t the only things she is planning. Meanwhile, Charlie Leigh-Hunt has been posted to Washington as a replacement for Guy Burgess, last seen disappearing around the corner and into the Soviet Union. Charlie is soon shocked to cross paths with Charlotte, an old flame of his, who, thanks to all her gossipy parties, has a packed pocketbook full of secrets she is eager to share. Two decades or so later, in 1969, Joe Wilderness is stuck on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, held captive by the KGB, a chip in a game way above his pay grade—but his old friends Frank and Eddie are going to try to spring him out of the toughest prison in the world. All roads lead back to Berlin, and to the famous Bridge of Spies…

Featuring crackling dialogue, brilliantly plotted Cold War intrigue, and the return of beloved characters, including Inspector Troy, Moscow Exile is a gripping thriller populated by larger-than-life personalities in a Cold War plot that feels strangely in tune with our present.

Praise for Hammer to Fall:

Named a Best Book of the Year by Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine

“A witty, melancholy, first-class work.”—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

Hammer to Fall continues the saga of Joe Wilderness, a roguish and immensely appealing combination of MI6 agent and sometime smuggler . . . This terrifically written and well-paced balancing act between the absurd and the deadly serious has some especially droll subplots.”—Adam Woog, Seattle Times

“An entertaining read, with an intelligent backdrop of cold-war geopolitics.”—Financial Times

“In this third Joe Wilderness spy thriller, John Lawton’s MI6 protagonist is on the move from Germany to Finland. Not your typical James Bond-style spy, Wilderness’ postings get more interesting by the minute. He ends up in Czechoslovakia just before the Soviets send in tanks to quash the 1968 Prague Spring uprising. Lawton is a master of the genre, and his writing is not only historically accurate, but also rich, ribald, cynical, informed, inventive, and hilarious.”—Christian Science Monitor

“A rich cacciucco of a novel, almost a menu degustation of politics, class, history (the Prague Spring of 1968), and impressive spy ‘tradecraft,’ with a gripping climax on a famous bridge of spies in Berlin, and it is all written with a knowing wit by an author in total command of his historical research. Fans of vintage British thrillers (surely there are some out there) will spot the homages made to Gavin Lyall, John Le Carré, and Len Deighton.”—Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine

“John Lawton’s British detective fiction has reached the height of being predictably stirring, powerfully written, and cleverly knit together in terms of both plot and the painful personal wounds of World War II . . . The final scenes lead dramatically to a high-tension Cold War quandary that promises more to come in this entertaining series.”—New York Journal of Books

“John Lawton infuses Hammer to Fall with ironic, dispassionate humor . . . Wilderness is a lightning rod for trouble and danger—and his sardonic, deadpan approach to life’s vicissitudes adds to the pleasure of reading Hammer to Fall.”—Criminal Element

“From Berlin, surviving on airlift support, to Finland, England, and ultimately, Prague in the spring of 1968, MI6 spy Joe Holderness, aka Wilderness, gets into and out of a number of compelling spots of trouble in this installment of his story . . . By turns witty, erudite, and exciting and supporting a host of interesting characters, imaginary and historical . . . Not one sour note. A terrific thriller: fun, satisfying, and humane.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Lawton scores another hit with his third Joe Wilderness novel . . . Terrific writing, a complex plot with a twist ending, and a roguish lead will have readers eagerly awaiting his next adventure.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lawton does a brilliant job of incorporating backstory here, deepening our understanding of and feelings for rule-breaking Joe, who cares more for people than governments, while delivering a jaw-dropping finale that will leave readers palpitating for more.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A delight. Lawton’s ongoing recreation of Cold War chicanery is one of the great pleasures of modern spy fiction.”—Mick Herron

Praise for John Lawton:

“Meticulously researched, tautly plotted, historical thrillers in the mold of World War II and Cold War fiction by novelists like Alan Furst, Philip Kerr, Eric Ambler, David Downing and Joseph Kanon.”—Wall Street Journal

“Wickedly seductive entertainment . . . John Lawton is creating some of our finest, and some of our most enjoyably ambiguous historical fiction.”—Washington Post

“Lawton’s gift for memorable atmosphere and characters, intelligent plotting and wry prose put him solidly at the top of anyone’s A-list of contemporary spy novelists.”—Seattle Times

“[Lawton] is a master of creating a feeling of time and place, of amalgamating true-life events into his imaginative plot, of bringing every character, real or fictitious, major or minor, vividly to life.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Intricate plotting, colorful characters, and a brilliant prose style put Lawton in the front rank of historical thriller writers.”—Publishers Weekly

“Constantly entertaining . . . The spying is well mixed with humor.”—Times (UK)

“Lawton’s books contain such a wealth of period detail, character depiction, and background information that they are lifted out of any category. Every word is enriched by the author’s sophistication and irreverent intelligence, by his meticulous research and his wit.”—Literary Review