The Lone Wolf at Cover is a book for readers interested in espionage, international relations, and the many facets of human interaction. At its basic, the novel is a dark story of human frailty, one offering a fresh slant on the popular Cold War spy fiction genre. Its main character, Joe Lambert, is a British spy unburdened by outrageous talents. Beyond detailing in first-person his life and times as a spy during the Cold War, Lambert’s narrative is also infused with a human interest story tenuously biographical of the author reflecting office politics; internecine career ambition; and human foibles, limitations and imperfection. Actual historical backdrops give the novel further realism and anchor it to the Cold War period. 

Lambert is an emotionally isolated man who in 1965, in an accident of UK political history, becomes recruit into the British Secret Intelligence Service. Over the ensuing twenty-five years, he battles his personal demons and hostile colleagues, firstly seeking career fulfilment before becoming an uncompromising avenger driven by the KGB’s murder of his first love. Lambert’s quest for revenge brings him into conflict with his own Service and the CIA. He also discovers he is a KGB recruitment target – and finds love for a second time. Lambert’s story is brought to its conclusion in 1990, while on a Top Secret mission in Moldova, at a time when the Soviet Union is preparing to implode and the end of the Cold War nears.


I have not read many of war spy fiction books- so my knowledge in reviewing this kind of genre is pretty naive. This book looks unique from those contemporary books of war spy fiction- like a fresh breath amidst some mediocre spy books. This book has let me travel to different cities like London, Indonesia, U.S, and India along with the protagonist. The books start slow paced building crucial blocks and then gradually picks up the pace with the splendid storytelling. Only let down in this book is that it is too formal for most of the parts. It does take some time to digest the intense start.

War Spy Fiction nearly always relies on a clever observer to pry inside the minds and lives of its characters, to lay bare for the reader their deep motivations and intimate secrets.
John Michell’s wonderful The Lone Wolf at Cover complements and enhances Lambert’s first-person account.

Joe Lambert’s characterization is intense and beautiful and gives you a good hangover
There is a lot to learn from this book especially the detailed (almost insider) perspective of bureaucratic politics of British Secret service and the CIA.
Although the book is slow at times (which is required to build crucial building blocks), I recommend “The Lone Wolf at Cover” for those readers interested in what the Cold War spy versus spy is like.

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