The Mulberry Bushby Charles McCarry
From a master craftsman, a powerful novel about a talented young spy who forms a dangerous personal vendetta against the very people who have trained him.
Author of The Tears of Autumn and The Shanghai Factor, Charles McCarry is widely regarded as one of the finest espionage novelists writing today. His latest masterpiece, The Mulberry Bush, burns with the fury of the wronged, as personal vendetta and political idealism collide. In a rose garden in Buenos Aires, an unnamed American spy meets the beautiful daughter of a famous Argentinean revolutionary. He becomes infatuated, and so does she. But he is no ordinary spy—he is an off-the-books lone wolf who spent his first five years at “Headquarters” hunting terrorists in the Middle East. Unbeknownst to his lenient handlers, he is loyal to a hidden agenda: to avenge his father, who was laughed out of Headquarters many years before and died a street person. In the sultry young Argentinean, Luz, the spy thinks he has found an ally. Like his father, her parents also met a terrible fate. But as his life becomes further entwined with hers, the spy finds himself caught in a perilous web of passions, affiliations, and lies that spans three continents and stretches back to the Cold War.
Steeped in the knowledge of modern-day tradecraft, The Mulberry Bush is a potent and seductive novel that explores what happens when the most powerful political motivator is revenge.
“Charles McCarry has been writing spy novels since the 1970s, and like just a few of his peers, he’s made a seamless transition from Cold War thrillers to present-day plots featuring technophile terrorists. But as he demonstrates in his new book, McCarry, himself an ex-CIA operative, hasn’t forgotten the folklore of 20th-century espionage . . . blending old-time yarns with a contemporary saga of payback and political intrigue . . . McCarry merges time-honored tradecraft with the technology of the day . . . [McCarry’s] real-life cloak-and-dagger work is long past. But he’s clearly banked plenty of know-how from those days, and he continues to parcel it out in entertaining spy novels like this one.” —Kevin Canfield, Washington Post
“Charles McCarry is criminally underrated: The former CIA operative has been writing brilliant thrillers under the radar for decades—the latest being The Mulberry Bush . . . McCarry’s twisty plot doubles back on itself multiple times, keeping us off-kilter to the last moment.” —Adam Woog, Seattle Times
“This exceptional spy thriller, from the exceptionally talented McCarry, starts slowly and builds to an incredible ending . . . A worldwide cat-and-mouse game. Grade: A.” —Michele Ross, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Is there a thriller writer alive today who both worked for the CIA and wrote speeches for Eisenhower? Yes, there is—and McCarry, after his spectacular early career, has achieved remarkable success as a novelist. In his latest book, a young spy infiltrates the CIA to avenge the death of his father.” —Financial Times, “The FT‘s best books of 2015″
“As ever in McCarry novels, the story is expert and convincing.” —Toronto Star
“America’s finest spy writer, Charles McCarry, proves impressively up-to-date with the methods and tensions of international espionage in The Mulberry Bush.” —Mark Lawson, Guardian (UK), “Best crime and thriller books of 2015”
“Treat the mystery lover on your list to this thrilling Buenos Aires-based spy tale from The Shanghai Factor author Charles McCarry.” —Parade, “A Book for Every Stocking”
“A poignant spy tale of mixed loyalties, betrayal and the collapse of political idealism.” —Lovreading (UK), “November Recommended Reads”
“[An] exceptional spy novel . . . McCarry spins his riveting story in unexpected ways; the writing is always subdued but brilliant, leading unsuspecting readers to collide straight into the unforgiving wall of a stunning ending.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Like Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, the protagonist in this new novel from McCarry is a young man set on avenging the grievous wrong done to his deceased father . . . Just as Hamlet ends with an intricately choreographed scene of violent death, this novel concludes in a crescendo of lethal treachery, but not before McCarry, who has mined the rich vein of spy craft for decades, dazzles us with smart dialog, fascinating characters, and local exotica of wonderful variety and authenticity.” —Barbara Conaty, Library Journal
“McCarry is a well regarded espionage novelist . . . As one frequently discovers in the world of espionage very little is as it appears and The Mulberry Bush‘s protagonist . . . must do battle with his own employers. Needless to say, McCarry knows how the game is played and tells it well.” —Robert Birnbaum, Our Man in Boston
“Classic noir themes of trust, motive, and tarnished ideals spin through this mordant, cerebral thriller about an agent on a two-tiered mission. Veteran thriller author and former CIA op McCarry opens this latest with a cracking good setup . . . and reaches a splendidly ironic resolution.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Veteran spy thriller novelist and former CIA covert operative Charles McCarry follows the body-strewn, undercover trail of a hot-shot agent determined to avenge his father . . . A little Ian Fleming, a little Charles Cumming, a little Barry Eisler–McCarry is in fine company.” —Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, KS
“McCarry is one of the finest spy novelists in the world, with thirteen masterful novels to prove it . . . Serpentine and stylish, McCarry has the late Eric Ambler’s elegant sureness of touch. There could be no higher praise.” —Daily Mail (UK)
“A slow, cerebral thriller than nonetheless offers a persuasive account of the realities of the espionage life.” —Mail on Sunday (UK), “Thriller of the Week”
A Guardian best crime/thriller book of the year
A Financial Times best crime book of the year
I was the only mourner. I had bought a funeral notice in the Washington Post and informed a silent Mother of his death by telephone. She did not show up, and neither did anyone from Headquarters or his secret society or anywhere else from the lost city of Father’s past. I placed the urn in its niche, and as I did so, my unconscious mind, if that’s what the agent of these visions was, provided me with another surprise.
Without warning, rage took possession of me. I shook with the palsy of it. The diffident chaplain looked at me with alarm, so I guess my face was contorted—red, possibly, stained by tears certainly. I could no more control what was happening to me than I could have controlled a fall from the top of the Empire State Building. I uttered a loud sob, then another and another—not because I was grief-stricken, but because I felt uncontrollable anger. I had never experienced anything like this before, but I immediately recognized it for what it was, the internal savage bursting out of the cave.
This time a different being had come up behind me and laid another kind of hands upon me. I wanted revenge. I hungered for it. I cared for nothing else.