The Terminal Spy is an intrigue with a Russian theme where the unspeakable do horrid things to the unpronounceable. I tend to confuse my …skayas, with my …oviches, and by the time I have sorted those out I have lost the plot. Mr Cowell anticipated my, and perhaps others dilemma, and opens his book with Dramatis Personae. This introduces us to 40 principle characters. I respectfully suggest that the reader studies these three and a bit pages as it will greatly enhance comprehension of the remaining 430.
Cowell’s work is at once an important and rewarding example of detailed investigative reporting. Important because it reveals how a foreign (I was tempted to say hostile), country carried out a successful nuclear attack on London, Britain’s capital city. Rewarding because it reads like a fiction spy thriller. It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Alan Cowell is an experienced and accomplished journalist and citizen of the world. He is ‘at-home’ in London Paris or New York, and has vast experience of the Middle East and Africa.
The Terminal Spy is a dissection, in the minutest detail of the evidence pertaining to the calculated murder in broad daylight of Alexander Litvinenko at London on November 1st 2006. It is the manner of this murder and why, that makes this volume a page turner par excellence.
No one has been brought before the courts for this crime, but by the end of the book there can be no doubt of the identity of the culprit and his accomplices.
The book is very well written. It is never dull – which is quite an achievement when one considers the exposure espionage and intelligence gets these days. There are no loose-ends or innuendoes which in a book like this can be infuriating.
The Terminal Spy is an extremely rewarding and enjoyable read, and I thoroughly recommend it.