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Review of Spy by Ted Bell

September 7, 2010

I have been an avid fan of the main character, Alex Hawke, since this character debuted in Ted Bell’s Hawke novel in 2003. As engaging as Alex Hawke’s first few adventures are, Spy, the fourth book in the Hawke series, resonates the most deeply with me. Often described as a James Bond for modern readers, Alex Hawke is a counter-terrorist agent who is routinely charged with saving the United States from destruction and tyranny. Many of Hawke’s exploits take place on American soil, but Spy offers a pleasant change of pace. After Hawke’s research vessel is destroyed, Hawke is captured by cannibals and transported to the Amazonian jungle. While in the jungle, Hawke gathers any intelligence he can about his assailants and learns that they intend to devastate America. Giving away more details would spoil the story. In short, what Hawke decides to do with the information he has gathered makes for Ted Bell’s finest tale yet. As always, Bell weaves an intricate plot, peppered with the perfect balance of mystery and revelations, that kept me turning pages late into the night. Many authors see fit to ask questions and provide ambiguous answers (if they supply answers at all), but I was pleased to discover that all questions were answered by the story’s conclusion, and answered sufficiently. Along with the suspenseful plot and fascinating characters, what most intrigued me about Spy was how close the narrative came to reality. While James Bond stories rely on suspension of disbelief, Alex Hawke’s adventures are seasoned with just the right amount of “What if that really happened?” scenarios to make the reader appropriately uncomfortable. Living vicariously through Alex Hawke puts me just close enough to the action to make me believe I am experiencing something that could be real, rather than an otherworldly fantasy adventure.

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