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1985 – The Spanish Gambit

1985 – The Spanish Gambit
Hunter switched publishers to Crown for this book and moved to another publisher for his next hardback four years later. It was re-released as a paperback with the new title “Tapestry of Spies” in January 1997 by Island Books.Hunter sets this tale of spies and counterspies in the Spanish Civil War. Interestingly, the inside cover of the paperback re-release attributes the short review “Constantly surprising” to the Washington Post! From the back cover of the ’97 edition:

Julian Raines was a golden boy from Eton, a renowned young poet who fled into the Spanish Civil War. Robert Florry was once Raine’s friend. Now he is being blackmailed by British Intelligence into hunting down his old friend in Spain. MI-6 says Julian Raines has turned KGB spy.The whorehouses of Barcelona are jammed. The bars are filled with laughter, and the streets are running with wine and blood. In the chaos, Robert Florry will find his old friend, unaware that a noose of espionage, psychological terror, and murder is being tightened around them by masters of the craft. A Soviet agent named the Devil Himself has gone rogue; an American mobster turned secret policeman is after a missing gold shipment; and all the rules have changed. Now there’s only one way out of Spain: on a path of terror, lies and blood.

cover You can help support my volunteer website to chronicle Stephen Hunter’s writings by buying Tapestry of Spies from You pay the same – but I get a small commission. Click the image at left to buy the paperback, and thanks for your support!

5 Responses to “1985 – The Spanish Gambit”

  1. thehip Says:

    This is a heavily researched book (except in the area of chess nomenclature, where APPALLING ignorance is displayed: no one calls the rook a “castle”, and although one “queens” a pawn, one does NOT “knight”, “bishop”, or “rook” [or "castle"] a pawn; clearly Hunter doesn’t play the game) and a quite well-written one. He’s drawn on “Homage to Catalonia” by George Orwell, even to the extent of (I believe) quoting it once or twice. Plus the protagonist has the same name (except for a doubled “r”) as the protagonist of “Burmese Days”, Orwell’s first novel (Robert Flo[r]y). Inside jokes?

    This and “Point of Impact” are well worth setting aside a day to read. Be warned — once you start, you won’t stop!

  2. Pancho Says:

    Whenever I hear of George Orwell I am thrilled. What a man ahead of his times! Even his well anthologized “death of an elephant” has a depth of meaning for my students, most of the third world. His internal conflict, his comments on empire ring so tru today.

  3. Richie Says:

    Of the 4 books I have read by Mr. Hunter, this is my least favorite. A good book but ultimately anticlimatic and predictable.

  4. win1885 Says:

    Can someone please tell me how this book ends? My copy, a Dell Hardback, ends in the middle of Chapter 41 as Florry and Sylvia are entering France….
    What kind of publisher doesn’t print the entire book….I’ve never heard of such a thing!

  5. Mark Says:

    Being a Russian national I was really amazed how close this book is to what I know about that period and specifically about the SU’s involvement in Spanish communist uprising.
    And I learned a lot from direct participants in those events.
    All kudos to Mr. Hunter ! Great research and interesting reading.

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