The Madness of July, Hardback Book
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


From Radio 4's James Naughtie, a sophisticated thriller about loyalty, survival and family rivalry deep in the Cold War, drawing on decades of experience as a political insider in Westminster and Washington.

It is a sweltering July in the mid-1970s, and for Will Flemyng, foreign office minister, the temperature is rising with each passing hour.

A mysterious death has exposed secret passions in government, bringing on a political crisis that will draw him back into a familiar world of danger and deceit.

For Flemyng has a past. He was trained as a spy for a life behind enemy lines and now he's compelled to go back.

In the course of one long weekend he must question all his loyalties: to his friends, his enemies, and to his own two brothers.

Only then can he expose the truth in London and Washington.

When he has walked through the fire.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Espionage & spy thriller
  • ISBN: 9781781856000

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I had such high expectations for this book that I suppose I was just asking to be disappointed. Every morning I wake up to Radio 4's 'Today' programme on which James Naughtie is one of the regular presenters and I particularly enjoy his monthly Book Club show. In fact I really wanted to like this book, and I did try, but it just couldn't be done.The book is a cold war spy story, and I it is clear that Naughtie knows his turf, but it was written in a deliberately disjointed manner, which merely served to irritate the reader and came as a great surprise from someone whose career has revolved around journalism and explication. At no point do any of the characters participate in anything even vaguely resembling a real conversation, and the writer seems to revel in unnecessary obliquity.

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