The Intelligencer
Leslie Silbert
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The Intelligencer

Leslie Silbert
Atria Books
338 pages
February 2004
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Famous sixteenth-century playwright Christopher Marlowe also worked secretly as a spy, an “intelligencer”, in the service of Queen Elizabeth. With the original spymaster Sir Walsingham dead, Marlowe is caught in the deadly power struggle that ensues between Elizabeth’s lover, the Earl of Essex, and Sir Robert Cecil. It’s a known fact that Marlowe was stabbed to death, but the how’s and why’s are largely unknown to historians. It’s here that author Leslie Silbert’s vivid imagination takes over.

Curled Up With a Good BookMeanwhile, in the present, student-turned-private eye Kate Morgan is called to investigate the failed robbery of an ancient manuscript -- actually a bound collection of ciphered missives from Marlowe and other spies in the sixteenth-century, which may or may not contain untold secrets. Kate is simultaneously involved in finding the motivations behind an eleven million-dollar payment from an enigmatic art dealer to an Iranian intelligence officer. With danger from both present and past stealthily surrounding her, can Kate survive to solve either case?

In an intellectual and competent narrative that straddles the past and the present, Leslie Silbert expertly takes the readers on a journey of Elizabethan-era espionage that spills into the twenty-first century. Focus shifts from Marlowe to Kate as they steadily work and play spy games in their own times, steadily approaching a culmination where either or both may end up terminated; therein lies the suspense. Silbert admirably incorporates fact and fiction and superbly blends cloak-and-dagger Elizabethan-era stuff with modern’s James Bond-style techniques and gadgets, which is guaranteed to please a plethora of readers. With unrelenting suspense, a taut pace, authentic historical facts and even some romance, The Intelligencer challenges its readers while simultaneously keeping them spellbound with its engrossing story.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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