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“Girl From Addis” – by Ted Allbeury

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Allbeury is one of the great British espionage writers: he’s cranked out about 20 novels over the years, beginning in the 60s. He’s 86 years old currently (assuming he’s still alive). He’s not as literary as Le Carre, nor as lyrical, but he’s very realistic, and his experience in the business (he was in the SAS in World War II) shows in the sense of versimilitude he brings to his stories.

My favorite book of his? “The Man With The President’s Mind.” The cold-war era Soviets create a simulated U.S. city, and raise a boy there such that he becomes as much like the current U.S. President as possible. They then use their simulated President to predict how the actual President will react to things, and the plot explodes. Fascinating book, great movie property.

“Girl From Addis” is about an old SAS man who’s called back to Africa to do one last job. He falls in love with a gorgeous 18 year old Ethiopian girl and is simultaneously betrayed and hung out to dry after he does the job in spectacularly successful fashion. Allbeury shares with Le Carre a distaste for the English occasioned by his own disillusioning experiences with them.

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  • alex

    that’s not what happens in “The Man With the President’s Mind.” the Russians recruit a psychology professor in his fifties to predict the President’s decisions, and put him in a fake White House. No fake city, and no boy raised to be like the president. Which kind of makes sense, as you wouldn’t know who was going to BE president by the time he became an adult.