Edward Wilson has again crafted an engaging, well-paced, and thrilling novel that brings back William Catesby, a sentimental yet coldly efficient agent in Britain's MI-6. Shuttling from West Germany to London, to Havana, and onward to Washington between October 1960 and the final week of October 1962 (when the world was on the brink of nuclear war), Catesby is given a thankless, yet vital task. That is, to make clandestine contacts and "offer Moscow a secret deal to break the deadlock" between it and Washington. One of the observations he makes during his service in Havana is the following: "The most interesting aspect of international relations wasn’t the conflict between enemies, but the conflicts between allies. You only had to go to an embassy cocktail party to see those conflicts in the flesh. It was easier for Western diplos to talk to the Russians than to talk to each other."
Cross, double-cross, love, the clear and present threat of war balanced against the preciousness of peace . Taken together, all these elements faithfully evoke the spirit of the early 1960s. Wilson has this uncanny skill for blending in fiction with history that will have the reader wondering how much more there may have been to the Cold War beyond what is the common narrative surrounding it today. Read "THE MIDNIGHT SWIMMER" and be amazed.