Saturday, November 29, 2008
Amateur by Robert Littell is a spy novel originally published in 1981. The West German Embassy is attacked by terrorists. Their demands are not met so they randomly select one of their hostages and execute her. Her boyfriend a CIA employee who works with ciphers wants to take revenge. The Company refuses to do so. He must find a way himself. The book tries to be two things. The first of these is a character study which Littell does quite well the second is an action adventure which is done less effectively. I was particularly perturbed by several characters stating that revenge is therapeutic. I'm perfectly willing to accept revenge is a major plot device in books of this nature. I'm not comfortable with it being claimed to be anything more than vengeance. Some of the assassinations are rather silly. There is the use of a x-ray machine for instance.