Defectors

A Novel

Defectors

A USA TODAY “Must Read” Book
A New York Post “Must Read” Book


“Fascinating…[Kanon] is a master of the genre...[The] roller-coaster plot will keep you guessing until the final page.” —The Washington Post

From the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage and Leaving Berlin comes a riveting novel about two brothers bound by blood, divided by loyalty.

In 1949, Frank Weeks, fair-haired boy of the newly formed CIA, was exposed as a Communist spy and fled the country to vanish behind the Iron Curtain. Now, twelve years later, he has written his memoirs, a KGB- approved project almost certain to be an international bestseller, and has asked his brother Simon, a publisher, to come to Moscow to edit the manuscript. It’s a reunion Simon both dreads and longs for. The book is sure to be filled with mischief and misinformation; Frank’s motives suspect, the CIA hostile. But the chance to see Frank, his adored older brother, proves irresistible.

And at first Frank is still Frank—the same charm, the same jokes, the same bond of affection that transcends ideology. Then Simon begins to glimpse another Frank, still capable of treachery, still actively working for “the service.” He finds himself dragged into the middle of Frank’s new scheme, caught between the KGB and the CIA in a fatal cat and mouse game that only one of the brothers is likely to survive.

Defectors is the gripping story of one family torn apart by the divided loyalties of the Cold War, but it's also a revealing look at the wider community of defectors, American and British, living a twilit Moscow existence, granted privileges but never trusted, spies who have escaped one prison only to find themselves trapped in another that is even more sinister. Filled with authentic period detail and moral ambiguity, Defectors takes us to the heart of a world of secrets, where no one can be trusted and murder is just collateral damage.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501121395 | 
  • June 2017
List Price $36.00 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Defectors includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Moscow, 1961: With the successful launch of Sputnik, the Soviet Union’s international prestige is at an all-time high. Living behind the Iron Curtain, former CIA agent Frank Weeks, the most notorious of the American defectors, is about to publish his memoirs. Frank’s defection twelve years earlier shook Washington to its core—and forced his brother, Simon, to resign from a promising career at the State Department.

Now Simon is a respected New York publisher, and Frank wants him to come to Moscow and edit his manuscript. It’s a reunion Simon both dreads and longs for, but he can’t resist the chance to see his adored older brother. At first, Frank seems much the same—charming, charismatic, the smartest guy in the room. Then Simon begins to glimpse another Frank, still capable of deceit, still in thrall to the KGB, as he’s pulled into Frank’s twilit world and a scheme that will test the bonds of brotherhood one last time.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. The defectors have declared their loyal see more

More Books from this Author

Leaving Berlin
Istanbul Passage
Stardust
The Good German

About the Author

Joseph Kanon
© Chad Griffith

Joseph Kanon

Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of DefectorsLeaving Berlin, Istanbul PassageLos AlamosThe Prodigal SpyAlibiStardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.

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