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Old Boys

Old Boys In his magnificent new novel Charles McCarry returns to the world of his legendary character Paul Christopher the crack intelligence agent who is as skilled at choosing a fine wine as he is at trad

  • Title: Old Boys
  • Author: Charles McCarry
  • ISBN: 9780143035497
  • Page: 201
  • Format: Paperback
  • In his magnificent new novel, Charles McCarry returns to the world of his legendary character, Paul Christopher, the crack intelligence agent who is as skilled at choosing a fine wine as he is at tradecraft, at once elegant and dangerous, sophisticated and rough and ready As the novel begins, Paul Christopher, now an aging but remarkably fit 70ish, is dining at home withIn his magnificent new novel, Charles McCarry returns to the world of his legendary character, Paul Christopher, the crack intelligence agent who is as skilled at choosing a fine wine as he is at tradecraft, at once elegant and dangerous, sophisticated and rough and ready As the novel begins, Paul Christopher, now an aging but remarkably fit 70ish, is dining at home with his cousin Horace, also an ex agent Dinner is delicious and uneventful A day later, Paul has vanished.The months pass, Paul s ashes are delivered by a Chinese official to the American consulate in Beijing and a memorial service is held in Washington But Horace is not convinced that Paul is dead and, enlisting the support of six other retired colleagues a sort of all star backfield of the old Outfit Horace gets the Old Boys back in the game to find Paul Christopher.They start with a photo found in Paul s study a woman s hand holding a centuries old scroll, once in the possession of the Nazis and now sought by the U.S government and Muslim extremists alike Harassed by American intelligence, hunted by terrorists, Horace Christopher and the Old Boys travel the globe, from Xinjiang to Brazil, from Rome to Tel Aviv, Budapest to Moscow, in search of Paul and the unspeakably dangerous truth.

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    1 thought on “Old Boys

    1. Charles McCarry has been writing his Paul Christopher novels for forty years. I've read several of the novels over the past twenty-eight years - going back to high school. When I started the series I was a teenager and the Soviet Union still existed. Both are now gone, but Charles McCarry is still writing about his Cold War creation. Interestingly a creation that he has allowed to age and continue into the present. No more Cold War, no more Soviets and a world wide situation that is just as mess [...]

    2. McCarry was always one of my favorites in the age of the Cold War thriller (in books like The Last Supper and The Tears of Autumn). This one is maybe not as good as Le Carre’s one about “old spies” (Absolute Friends) but it’s good and I enjoyed it a lot. Basically it’s the story of 5 old spies, superannuated from the CIA, who join forces to find another one of them who’s disappeared and been reported dead in Western China. They don’t believe it and set out to find him. They’re al [...]

    3. One of life's minor pleasures is reading a book that has been on your shelf for years. I have had Charles McCarry's Old Boys for six or seven years. It's not that I didn't want to read it, but it was the first McCarry I acquired. Having bought it, I realized it was a series book and that I would have to go about purchasing the, then out of print and hard to find, earlier books. I spent some time tracking down used copies and then Overlook Press reprinted his books. So, I've now caught up and cou [...]

    4. Great book to read! Keeps you interested in what will happen next!I was not sure if I would like this series. Charles McCarty is a wonderful writer! If you like to read espionage/spy, I recommend reading this author.

    5. I really came to love Paul Christopher as the hero of the series of novels delivered overtime by Charles McCarry; some of these novels are real masterpieces, like The Last Supper and Tears of Autumn, able to transcend their genre, others are very solid espionage stories, and a few are a little weaker. Old Boys is the final instalment of the series and I’m afraid belongs to the latter cluster; after a promising start, the story meanders around various narrative streams which struggle to fit tog [...]

    6. 2.5 stars. I'd never read this author before and I should have started with an earlier work, because I think I missed a lot of connections. There's a promising setup about a missing spy and the colleagues who come out of retirement to find him, but there's so much plot (Islamic terrorism, ww2 espionage, a scroll from Biblical times, falconry) that we lose track of both the emotional journey and the tradecraft. The ending feels like an '80s action movie. Disappointing, but I'll try another by thi [...]

    7. Paul Christopher returns in a novel that takes an aging agency and military community we've been introduced to in the past and puts them back into the action for that "one last phone call that says you are needed." I'm reading all of McCarry right now, and I have to say I am in awe at the perfection of his plots and paragraphs. This work doesn't disappointment. I practically read it without putting it down.

    8. Excellent thriller, the most recent in a series that I have never read before. Paul Christopher is an old master spy, but what has happened to him? China says he is dead. His cousin Horace doesn't believe it. An old spy himself, he gets some old cohorts together to find Paul.

    9. The "Outfit", The Insiders Name For The CIA, 20 Mar 2006 "THE BRITISH ARE generally considered the nonpareils in foreign-intrigue literature. Although they didn't invent the genre, they perfected it, and are credited with the first spy novel that can be considered serious literature, Erskine Childers' still enthralling 1903 classic, The Riddle of the Sands." Morton MarcusThe most enthralling spy novels, I think come from the British. This is my first introduction to Charles McCarry. I know not w [...]

    10. I'm not sure if it's just this book or McCarry's work in general but I found this unusually slow going. This is my third or forth Paul Christopher novel and a strong contender for my last. My chief criticism of his novels is the lack of character development. I don't think it's asking too much for words to do something other than sit flat on a page even after they've been read. This book in particular presented characters so flat they're borderline interchangeable. You'd probably need a razor sc [...]

    11. i almost went with a two but just couldn't. the plot is uninteresting and filled with things i feel like i am supposed to fill in somehow because the author just didn't bother - and the weak side-plot didn't help either. the characters felt so cardboard-cutout i found myself not even bothering to remember their names half the time - i think a first for me. some interesting mystery notes in the start held no real mystery and the end simply ends, falls flat doesn't seem accurate enough. the author [...]

    12. Well, maybe 2 1/2 stars.This espionage thriller is strong on plot and setting: the story starts with CIA retirees reuniting to search for a comrade who may or may not be dead (and who may also in turn be searching for his mother, who ALSO may or may not be dead). Add to this sundry mercenary killers, a shadowy 'Gray Force' led by 'Kevin' :) the requisite Islamic nutcase with very deadly weapons, and the original manuscript of an apocryphal story from the life of Jesus. And Nazis, too. McCarry ke [...]

    13. Paul Christopher is the subject of this book, but he's missing and being sought by a group of former spooks lead by his nephew Horace Hubbard, who had been disgraced from the service in an earlier book.This McCarry novel reintroduces Lori Christopher and Zarah Christopher, and leads the Old Boys all over the world playing a deadly game of mystery and intrigue suggested by Paul Christopher before his disappearance.McCarry really impresses me with his subplots and knowledge of falconing, Cold War [...]

    14. McCarrey has written as series of good espionage stories with two characters, Paul Christopher and Horace Hubbard. Years ago Paul’s mother Lori, living in Germany was kidnapped by a Nazi. She managed to have him killed and escaped with a scroll about early Christianity with an interesting twist that Paul is really a Roman agent who planted Judas in with the disciples. Now at least 50 years later Paul has disappeared looking for his mother and Horace gets some old ex spies to try to fnd her. Th [...]

    15. First time with this author, and not a good start. This is a spy thriller that lacks thrills. It has MacGuffins out the wazoo. A lot of plot that gets in the way of the story. Wafer-thin characters. Magic technology. And now, Budapest, er, Vienna, whoops, Tajikistan, nope, Washington, um, no, we're in, uh, Brazil now? I might check out one of the earlier titles in this series, but only because the other reviews indicate that "Old Boys" is an aberration.Also -- there are a lot of copy editing err [...]

    16. As a fan of Charles McCarry and a believer that an espionage novel can transcend literary bounds - "The Last Supper" being an example of this - I found this book to be beyond awful. I can't count the number of times I put it down in frustration, only to return in the hopes that a glimmer of the characters and writer I had enjoyed so much in previous works would appear. None of them do. The premise is weak, the plot barely conceived and poorly fleshed out. A number of times I found myself insisti [...]

    17. Very disappointing, after so many well written other books about the legendary Paul Christopher!Hard to believe this was actually penned by McCarry it is that different. I suspect the publishers saw an opportunity when the back catalogue starting selling so well when the new editions came out. Was this a concept that was given to ghost writer to complete, trying to tie up the one remaining mystery about his parents.

    18. Not one of McCarry's best. I had previously read "The Shanghai Factor" and found it much more gripping. This one has too many subplots and too many characters to consistently hold your attention. However, it's a tribute to the author that, even when he's mediocre, he's enjoyable Don't make this your first McCarry novel: based on the reviews I've seen, either "The Miernik Dossier" of "The Tears of Autumn" are your best bets.

    19. Touted as a Paul Christopher spy thriller, this book is really about his cousin, Horace Hubbard, tryingto find the supposedly deceased Christopher with the help of five of the "Old Boys" of the "Outfit".None of these characters is even remotely as interesting as the legendary Christopher so I found itdisappointing. Doesn't hold a candle to "The Tears of Autumn".

    20. I'd heard lots about McCarry and this series, and was interested this. At times Paul Christopher is a bit too enigmatic for me to really grasp, but his cousin's devotion is touching-- indeed the whole family is devoted, in an isolated, loner kind of way. I particularly liked learning so much about falconry and hawks.

    21. This is McCarry having a little fun, and it's more fun for the reader if he/she is familiar with the previous books about Paul Christopher and his family. McCarry's other books are serious meditations about espionage and politics. This one pokes a little fun at the genre, while exploring the nature of loyalty among family and comrades.

    22. What happened Mr. McCarry? This is a simple-minded action flick, nothing like your old work. The characters coud be cartoons. The explosions are big, locals exotic, and villians more Bond-like than your old adversaries. Did you really write this?

    23. Like Ross Thomas and Graham Greene (at least, Greene's espionage fiction), McCarry relies on wit and solid characterization to carry his story. In this case, the subplot involving Saul of Tarsus as Christ's "handler" is one of the funnier and more fascinating leitmotifs in spy fiction.

    24. After a long time away from writing about Paul Christopher, McCarry returns in masterful form. All the usual suspects are here, along with the typical byzantine plot and surprises. In reading this I felt like an old friend with whom I had lost touch had returned.

    25. I'd never heard of Charles McCarry until recently (this is the first book I've read of his) but I love this spy fiction stuff and he does it well. Gotta get my hands on some of his earlier stuff now.

    26. This was an excellent book by Charles McCarry. Very readable and interesting.J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"

    27. Perhaps the best espionage book I've ever read. By far the best Charles McCarry out there IMHO. However please note, if you are an easily offended Christian, you might want to pass on this one.

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