All The Old Knives

3.69 based on 2740 ratings & 500 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 13.08.2015
ISBN: 9781447295778
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

'This is one of the sparest, most elegant spy novels I have come across in a long time . . . Written in glistening prose - with not a word wasted - it proves Steinhauer truly is John le Carre's rightful heir.' Daily Mail

Celia used to lie for a living. Henry still does. Can they ever trust each other?

Six years ago, Henry and Celia were lovers and colleagues, working for the CIA station in Vienna, until terrorists hijacked a plane at the airport. A rescue attempt, staged from the inside, went terribly wrong. Everyone on board was killed.

That night has continued to haunt all of those involved; for Henry and Celia, it brought to an end their relationship. Celia decided she'd had enough; she left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the Californian suburbs. Henry is still a CIA analyst, and has travelled to the US to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.

But neither of them can forget that question: had their agent been compromised, and how? And each of them also wonders what role their lunch companion might have played in the way things unfolded...

All the Old Knives is Olen Steinhauer's most intense, most thrilling and most unsettling novel to date - from the New York Times bestselling author deemed by many to be John le Carré's heir apparent.

In the media

A splendid tour de force. While some spy novels are globe-trotting and action-packed, this one centers on a single meal - but with just as hearty a helping of suspense . . . The mystery here works with the dexterity and precision of Agatha Christie's best - the answer to whodunit and whydunit being both surprising and ultimately inevitable because the clues are in plain sight... But the puzzle is just one aspect of a story that's freighted with considerable emotional and moral weight. If the ending is crisp with irony (like one of those old Spy vs. Spy cartoons from Mad magazine, but elevated to elegant purity), it's also hauntingly ambiguous, both morally and dramatically
Washington Post
Masterfully plotted . . . Even readers well-versed in espionage fiction will be pleasantly surprised by Steinhauer's plot twists and double backs
Kirkus (Starred Review)
All the Old Knives has a disarmingly quiet start, but good spy novels are like good spies: they draw you in, earn your trust, and then grab hold with both hands. In Vienna during the mid-2000s Henry and Celia were intelligence agents and lovers who witnessed a terrorist hijacking as it took a shocking turn. Five years later, the two meet over dinner at a restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea where Celia now lives as a civilian, to recall the events of the past. As the remembrances overlap with the present moment, tension mounts and questions of who did what to whom, and why, become increasingly urgent. By the last 100 pages Steinhauer's hook is firmly embedded and it's hard not to race to the finish. And the ending? I can sum it up in one word - brilliant
Amazon (‘Best Book of the Month’)