Review of “In the Company of Spies”


“In the Company of spies” eBook was published in 2016 (originally published on paper in 1981) and was written by Stephen Barlay. Mr. Barlay published more than a dozen books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Thriller novel is set in the US, Russia and Cuba. The primary character is Helm Rust, formerly with the CIA, and now a small scale smuggler between Florida and Cuba. The time frame is 1962 and centers on the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Rust has been out of the CIA for years. He gets a message from his estranged father who is living in Moscow asking for help. Through his contacts in the intelligence community Rust secures a cover to travel to Russia. He wants to arrange for his father’s escape to the West.

Things do not go as planned and Rust is soon on the run from the KGB. He is helped by a beautiful, mysterious young Russian woman and her friend. He makes it out of Russia, but only after some harrowing incidents. Once back in the West the he is still plagued by the KGB. His movements have been revealed by someone that he trusts.

I spent 10.5 hours with this novel and enjoyed it even though it was first published 35 years ago. While it did have a few exciting scenes, mostly it was a slow reveal of complicated intrigues and intelligence stratagems. It paints a very tangled view of the intelligence communities at the height of the Cold War. Even after finishing the novel I was not sure which side some of the players were really on. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

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