Get the bragging rights.... say you read the book, it before it was a film!
Latest review - 11 April 2017
Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
Two aspects of M.K. South's complex espionage thriller, Of Our Own Device, starkly define the reading experience one must expect upon tackling this lengthy novel. The plotting is meticulous and brilliantly satisfying. The sex is graphic, detailed, and same gender, but it is not gratuitous, and it is absolutely essential and integral to the book's unfolding storyline. The year is 1985, an historical period rife with Cold War strategy and tactical maneuvering between two primary players: the superpowers - Russia and the United States. Jack Smith, in deep cover with an alternate backstory to keep him well hidden, plies his dual trades under the predatory and acute scrutiny of the Soviet Union as Gorbachev comes into power, a time when glasnost and perestroika serve to belie the undercurrent of severe danger inherent to his placement, especially considering the devastating and imminent threat of nuclear war.
Amidst the cunning games of spy vs. spy played out during this unstable time, Jack Smith develops a strategic and unintentional emotional/sexual bond with a young Russian would-be rock star, who happens also to be an up-and-coming physicist studying the potential effects of nuclear winter. M.K. South's treatment of their most clandestine affair within his novel becomes the essential metaphor and conflict serving to propel his ever more thrilling and dangerous storyline. Which particular secretive revelation might cause more damage to them both becomes a crucial consideration. Meanwhile, the book accelerates progressively toward a fateful, unanticipated, but highly satisfying conclusion.
This story starts during 1985, the so called "Year of the Spy"and whilst a fictional story, it is interwoven meticulously with history. This is the foundation upon which Of Our Own device is built. Where the story suggests the moon was full on certain day, or it was raining... it would have been. As you read, you will stumble into parts of the story you feel you know from news reports, effectively blurring the boundary between fact and fiction. In fact at times it seems more Déjà vu than fiction, adding massively to the story. A deal of the characters are real people, but since they are inserted into imagined events, their names have been changed, Those of you "in the know" will recognise them. Those of you that had the need to go upstairs in the US embassy, or indeed... were listening in, will doubtless recognise a good deal too.
In writing Of Our Own Device, the author set out to avoid writing a prescriptive, formulaic story, and is the better for it. The story has a very particular and deliberate cadence. Spying is a very methodical expertise. The cadence of Of Our own Device is very carefully crafted to give this perception, and to imprint the psychological state of our protagonist upon the reader at different phases. But this isn't a spy novel in the classic sense. If you want car chases, the chink of a spent shell case dancing on the pavement to the accompaniment of a silenced shot - then this is not for you. If you have a need to explore, to travel, a love of history and a recognition that the destination justifies the journey, then this is for you, It's a story of love, a story of multiple layers of deceit, a story about struggling with what's important. The quote from Marcel Proust at the front of the book, "Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us", is all you really need to know.
Will it be a film? Who knows, but if you want to get the bragging rights, you'll have to get the e-book! (US) or here (UK)
"Digitally Signed" versions are available directly from the author. These will be PDF format only. Each one will have a personal dedication and can be regarded the "Gold Standard" edition. Although entirely text, the book is quite visual, there are changes of font and font colour that that cannot be displayed in e-book format, or economically in print. So the PDF version is, by far, the best choice. Each PDF will be password protected. The good news is, it's the same price, $7.00 for US customers and £5.74 for UK. Payment is Paypal only.
If you'd like one, just send an e-mail, give us your name and any dedication requests, we will send you the PDF, once you have it send the paypal payment and we will send you the password. This is all very human, so allow a little bit of time please! Request PDF
"Of Our Own Device by M.K. South is the first book I've read that featured a protagonist who is a spy and also happens to be gay. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was an interesting spy novel. It was fascinating to go back in time to the days of the Cold War and how we thought then. I had forgotten the feel of it, but M.K. South captures the ambiance of that era perfectly. I especially related to the conversations about classic rock music and how important and prevalent it was, not only to young Americans, but to young people the world over. America and the Soviet Union had a mutual fascination with each other and M.K. South has a delicate way of emphasizing this without overdoing it."
"What I liked most about Of Our Own Device by M.K. South is the protagonist, Jack Smith. There are so many aspects of him that reminded me of myself as a young man. I am also from a small town; I also dreamed of going to California and government service was my ticket to see the world, just as it was for Jack. I found the depiction of life as an American living and working in a foreign country spot on. The foreign students, the fellow Americans you meet, and the surveillance by the host country were all beautifully written. This is a spy's life - not the constant action and adventure of a James Bond novel but the daily stress of living a lie and still trying to be a fun, decent, human being. M.K. South writes well and I look forward to more stories of Jack and his California dream."
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