Fans of good old-fashioned geopolitical spy thrillers will find a lot to like with Croft's array of quirky spies, informants, and agitators. Croft loves the mechanics and jargon of spy stories so much that he injects phrases like "back in from the cold" to let the reader in on the joke. He spends a lot of time on the inner workings of MI6, both as a way of detailing the particulars of operations like this but also to show how bureaucracy, office politics, and personal rivalries impact international espionage as though it were a typical office job. Vaux is smooth and unflappable but also relatable, more clever everyman than superhuman hero. His greatest ability is being able to read others and act accordingly. Croft also gives all of the supporting players distinct personalities and motivations, creating a colorful cast that avoids clichés.
The action on the boat is appropriately tense and exciting, so much so that the final part of the book feels like a bit of a letdown, though that seems Croft's intent: not every spy caper has a clean beginning and ending. Most of the time, it's not about abductions and shoot-outs; instead, it's about paperwork and documentation, realpolitik rather than derring-do. Fortunately, Vaux is the right man for spy hijinks as well as spy drudgery, and Croft makes both entertaining.
Takeaway: Exciting but down-to-earth international spy thriller.
Comparable Titles: Olen Steinhauer’s The Cairo Affair, Mark Greaney’s Gunmetal Gray.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
...Treachery on the Nile excels as a modern take on the timeless tradecraftof espionage. The murky and often amoral worlld of the intelligence agent has been written about by elegends from Graham Greene to John Le Care. Author Roger Croft admirably follows in the footsteps of his predecessors by writing a highly readable story where a spy's work never ends but merely evolves. Vaux is a good man, weary of the backstabbing that goes along with working for MI6--but his dogged loyalty to his country prevents him from walking away.... Croft [The Algerian Hoax] has written a clever and interesting work about never-ending gllobal intrigues. *****