“The reason you’re incredulous, gentlemen,” Ruby Parker went on, “is because you haven’t the faintest conception of how MI5, MI6 and the FBI and CIA now work. Which is good news for us, bad news for the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki, not to mention the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure and the Bundesnachrichtendienst. We’ve managed to keep our rivals in the dark for over a decade.”
“Bravo,” Bronstein said. “Now maybe you could fill us in on what the hell you’re talking about.” He put his hands together. “No disrespect.”
She sat down. “I won’t bore you with the details. There is no MI5. Not any more. It merged with MI6 nearly a decade ago to create MI7, the result of an initiative to bring intelligence – in the cybernetic sense of the word – into Intelligence. We continue under the MI5, MI6 designation in public for obvious reasons. And because people seem to like it.”
“Right,” Bronstein said.
“We’ve had effective departments of spies in this country since Francis Walsingham in the sixteenth century, Lieutenant Bronstein. The author of Robinson Crusoe was a spy. There was nothing special about MI5 or MI6.”
When someone starts assassinating paparazzi in three countries, MI7 sits up. Apparently, the killer is none other than Dmitri Vassyli Kramski, retired SVR field-operative and former Kremlin protégé. True, the Cold War is long finished, but everyone knows Vladimir Putin is as unhappy for Russia to play second fiddle on the international stage as even the most strident of his Communist predecessors. In 2010 therefore, East-West relations remain as tortuous as ever.
Kramski’s trail leads deep into London’s émigré community, forcing his pursuers into conflict with an unknown organisation bent on protecting him. Bit by bit, he begins to look less like a professional assassin and more like someone plotting to scupper the foundations of Western democracy itself. To compound matters, the Russians are as baffled by him as anyone.
- Cool Millennium, October 2012
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