Operation Saladin Reviews

CROFT’s world of double-dealing and treachery, with a suggestion of indifferent, manipulative bureacrats, confirms the dour observation of a veteran spymaster that loyalyty among spies verges on being an oxymoron. Croft’s moral wilderness and compilation of treachery rings far truer than the glamour of a James Bond.  And the clash between romance, personal loyalty and institutional duplicity bears the unmistakable tone of one who knows. —Publishers Weekly. * Starred Review.

CROFT’s style is satirical, approaching spoof…like the first book, it’s an entertaining, farcical take on the world of international espionage, peppered with references to the Arab-Israeli conflict….One thing Croft does do well is character study.  His portrayal of  Vaux’s lecherous, etiquette-obsessed, recently divorced MI6 handler,  and his interaction with his younger, more laid-back colleagues, is a delight in itself.

‘Operation Saladin’ is an amusing read and may please fans of the spy genre, particularly those who take the professionalism of organizations like the CIA, MI6 and Syria’s secret service with a pinch of salt. —India Stoughton, Daily Star. Beirut, Lebanon

Coft once again intrigues his reader with this fast-paced sequel…..Tightly written and laden with dramatic tension, Vaux’s quest for truth and freedom is constantly tested, especially when his own friends become less and less trustworthy and his own safety is further compromised….Surprises lurk behind every character in this original storyline fraught with suspense…..A suspenseful, behind-the-scenes look at espionage and politics through the eyes of a British journalist. A web of secrets and betrayal sure to grab spy novel fans.–Kirkus Reviews

Croft’s principal characters fit the story line. This one is not what I would call a page turner, more le Carre than Clancy, but there are times when it’s nice to have a protagonist with a brain and sentiments. ..One thing about Croft is that he writes females in a more realistic fashion than many male authors working in this genre….sort of the spy novels equivalent to Deaver’s Amelia Sachs. ****Linda A. Root,   Amazon

The topic is interesting, especially in view of current events…..Something this book includes that most spy novels don’t is some of the day-to-day mundaneness of intelligence work. That contributes to the realism of the book and the humanness of the characters. In other words, they are not all  Jason Bourne-like  super spies. ****C. Stephens, Amazon

Operation Saladin is a fast-paced, fascinating sequel to The Wayward Spy. Author Roger Croft has created a series of suspensful novels that will leave readers mesmerized by the story line, the characters, and the action. Operation Saladin could be a blockbluster movie hit on any big screen across the world. Highly recommended! Truly enjoyable. —Avidreader59IK

The Vaux in this book is more confident and more experienced in the ways of espionage. There are Israeli and Syrian professional hit men hunting for Vaux. He is moved from safe house to safe house and finally sent to a remote military base in England. There is humor for those who are familiar with the spy genre. When an MI6 staffer suggests at a top-level meeting that Vaux ‘has come in from the cold’, the head of MI6’s Department B3, nearly chokes on his digestive and blurts out: ‘We’ll have none of that silly talk, thank you.’

The love of Vaux’s life, Alena, Syrian-born and beautiful, returns in this sequel and appears much more complicated than originally thought. Vaux also becomes her prey. OPERATION SALADIN is a terrific follow-up to Mr. Croft’s first [spy] novel and I highly recommend it…–Brian Taylor, Portland Book Review

Very good read, especially now with Assad’s Syria in violent tumult. The plot is believabe, the characters are real and–to an anglophile–England is in my sight. I look forward to the next one.–M.G. Martin. ****

 

Croft has an uncanny sense of timing. In ‘The Wayward Spy’, the story centered on a pending multi-billion dollar arms deal between Syria and Russia back in the early 90s. The close relationship between Syria and Russia is now in the headlines every day and likely to remain so until the conflict in Syria is resolved. Croft’s just-released ‘Operation Saladin’, an intriguing and fast-moving sequel to Wayward, tells the story of a Syrian nuclear scientist and his plans to defect to the UK along with his family.

The plot, naturally, involves Michael Vaux, the original wayward spy, who in the year 2000 finds himself marooned in Cairo, out of his newspaper job, and hounded by the GSD, Syria’s intelligence service, on suspicions that Vaux all along has been working for MI6, Britain’s secret service. Making matters worse, Ahmed Kadri, Vaux’s friend from his college days and until recently Syria’s chief armaments buyer, is arrested and charged with treason.

Vaux’s lover, as we know from ‘Wayward’, is Alena Hussein, the bright and beautiful Palestinian former ‘mole’ at MI6, who now works for Syria’s GSD as station chief in Cairo. She warns Vaux that if he returns to Damascus, he could face the same uncertain fate as Kadri. Meanwhile, MI6—out of contact with Vaux since his one-off job for them in Tangier in the early-90s—has its untiring ear to the ground and offers Vaux a new job. But the offer comes with strings attached. He has to agree to head up Operation Saladin, a plan to aid the Syrian scientist to defect–along with a fat dossier on Syria’s nuclear arms program and details of its inventories of chemical weapons. With an Al Saiqa [Syrian Special Forces] hit team in pursuit, Vaux has little choice but to accept MI6’s deal. Both Vaux and the nuclear scientist find themselves holed up in the depths of the English countryside. As the hit team closes in, its provenence is now questioned: are they Syrians out for revenge or the Mossad whose ‘targeted killings’ of nuclear engineers working for Mideast regimes is becoming a familiar pattern?

The characters are well-drawn and as usual, Croft’s humor and skepticism about MI6’s core competence and the foibles and vanities of bureaucrats in general make for a pleasurable read. In particular, the climax is as unpredictable as it was in the first of what one hopes will be a Michael Vaux series of post-Cold War espionage novels.–Dicky Cruyer, Amazon. ****

Operation Saladin is is a fast-paced, fascinating sequel to The Wayward Spy. Author Roger Croft has created a series of supenseful novels that will leave readers mesmerized by the story line, the characters and the action.  Operation Saladin could be a blockbuster movie hit on any big screen across the world.

Highly recommended!! Compare this novel to the Mission Impossible series or even the Jack Ryan character in major films  Truly enjoyable.–Amandakerr’s review, GOODREADS & AMAZON U.K. ****

The  Wayward Spy and its sequel Operation Saladin by Roger Croft, are exactly what we spy aficionados have been yearning for: great writing; exciting story lines; unputdownable–and which read faster than an express train!  The first of the two books begins sedately introducing us to the likable  Michael Vaux, a journalist just returning from North America. His only wish is to purchase a property in his boyhood town in Hertfordshire. The house is directly opposite–and better situated–than his late mother’s property, with great views over unspoilt countryside. After he places his offer for the house, a new bidder throws a spanner in the works by outbidding Vaux’s initial offer. What ensues is a battle royal for the property…Vaux meanwhile is staying at the nearby pub where he meats an oleaginous Arthur Davis, a fifty-something MI6 talent-spotter. Vaux is now being drawn into Davis’s lair; conversations, invitations to dinner…The upshot sees Vaux accepting Davis’s promises of great financial rewards should he agree to do a spot of spying in the upcoming Operation Helvetia [MI6 had learned of Vaux’s youhful friendship while at university with the now chief armaments buyer of Syria, one Ahmed Kadri.

Vaux is then given orders to fly to Geneva where there is a peace conference on the Middle East  in progress. There he meets up again with his old friend Ahmed Kadri; and from there the story ratchets up to a dizzying speed, taking Vaux through the labyrinthine and twisting route from Geneva to Tangiers to Cairo and to Syria itself. The sequel, Operation Saladin,  has its foot on the accelerator from the start–the engine of the story zooms into action on the first page…and hardly stops for refueling. This ‘spy trip’  takes one’s breath away.–Adam McCrum, GOODREADS *****