Cover of Novel, Of Our own device OF OUR

Get the bragging rights.... say you read the book, it before it was a film!

The Year of the Spy.
The CIA and the KGB clash in the last showdown as the Soviet bloc enters its final years. Deception is the name of the game, and it pervades every aspect of Jack Smith's life - secrets to keep, secrets to find, and one to give away. And as Fate would have it, to the most improbable person in Moscow.

Of Our Own Device is a story written by my wife over some four years. Having lived with the process, I wanted to show my support by helping a little with promoting it. I'm not a big fan of marketing, to put it mildly. There's a kaleidoscope of stuff we are pressurised to acquire by very cynical marketers, who collate us into types and believe we will behave a certain way if they throw enough advertising and social media spin at us. Ugh.

So I am not doing that. Okay... maybe suggesting it will be a film is a tad spinny.

Instead, let me share with you some of the journey. I believe a story should have a life of its own and not be influenced by the author's celebrity status - or lack o f it. As a reader, you are likely going to be curious about the writer, if nothing else, to add a little legitimacy to the book. Given that the book entails the secret services of the US and ex-USSR, I'm clearly not about to suggest anything that will result in a large black van being parked down the street in the morning! What I will say is that the author speaks fluent Russian and American... as opposed to English, having spent years in the Soviet Union. During the events described.

This story starts during 1985, the so called "Year of the Spy" - you may recall the tit-for-tat expulsions that went on during that period. 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, I dare say. 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.

There's a fair amount of "man on man" sexual content in this story. As a straight man, I have to confess to having some difficulty with this initially.... but it's legitimate. That is, it's not used gratuitously just to appeal to a particular audience, it's a reflection on life, and an aspect of secret service life that does go on. You have to imagine the layers of secrecy involved. This was a time when being gay was not something people advertised. We are more enlightened today. But this was a different time, and being gay in the USSR was problematical. Some things go full circle of course. It also makes for a vulnerability, the opposing side can use it..... It's historically accurate too, there have been some very high profile homosexual spies that have been turned to work for the "other side".

Of Our Own Device is a long tale. Purposefully so and, I should add, with my encouragement. During the editing process the author was under some pressure to shorten it because "readers won't read a book that long". Well, I have issues with this! Firstly, I don't want the world's bookshelves, virtual or otherwise, populated by prescriptive, formulaic stories. Secondly, as the reader I want to be allowed to decide for myself. I want to explore a bit. I don't expect to research every aspect of the tale via blogs, web sites and syrupy paid-for reviews, to ensure a safe bet - so that I have nothing invested in the read. Which is why I am giving away nothing here! The story has a very particular and deliberate cadence. Spying is a very precise, slow, 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)

We are producing to order "Digitally Signed" versions. These will be PDF format only. Each one will have a personal dedication and, from our perspective, is 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