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Mystery Authors

Book reviews - The Secret Families

The Secret Families

Author: John Gardner

John Gardner's ‘The Secret Generations’ was acclaimed as one of the classic works of Cold War espionage fiction.

‘The Secret Families’ is the final shattering move in the trilogy, the checkmate from a grand master of espionage.

The year is 1964.

The Cold War is at its height and Caspar Railton, the 'wounded lion' of the Railton clan, which for decades has dominated British Intelligence, is dead.

Even worse, evidence has emerged suggesting Caspar was a traitor and suspicion surrounds not only the Railtons but also the Farthings, the American family of spymasters connected by marriage to their British counterparts.

Yet Naldo refuses to accept his uncle's guilt and is determined to clear both families' names. With his cousin Arnold Farthing he embarks on a quest to uncover Caspar's past, a mission which takes both men deep into some of the most dangerous territory any agent can enter …

'The Secret Families' completes John Gardner's The Secret Generations trilogy, which is a giant work of fiction drawn from the dramatic history of Britain’s intelligence and security services. Through the story of one family, the Railtons, whose lives become caught up in some of the greatest struggles of the twentieth century, Gardner traces the birth, the early clashes, the successes and failures of the organizations now known as M15, M16 and GCHQ.


'A master storyteller at the height of his powers' - Len Deighton

`The first book ever to combine a family saga with a spy story ... Keeps you turning the pages up to the last twist of treachery' - Daily Express

‘An exciting spy story’ – Yorkshire Post

‘The suspense is well-portrayed both in the accounts of World War II and in the subsequent cold-war exploits’ – Booklist

Before coming an author of fiction in the early 1960’s John Gardner was variously a stage magician, a Royal Marine officer and a journalist. In all Gardner has fifty-four novels to his credit, including Maestro, which was the New York Times book of the year. He was also invited by Ian Fleming’s literary copyright holders to write a series of continuation James Bond novels, which proved to be so successful that instead of the contracted three books he went on to publish some fourteen titles, including Licence Renewed and Icebreaker. Having lived in the Republic of Ireland, the United States and the UK, John Gardner sadly died in August of 2007 having just completed his third novel in the Moriarty trilogy, Conan Doyle’s eponymous villain of the Sherlock Holmes series.

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

US publication: 1989
Detective: The Railton family novels
Genre: novels