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Full Name: Jack McColl
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: David Downing
Time Span: 2014 - 2018


Jack McColl is an agent for the British Secret Service.

When the recorded adventures of McColl begin, the year is 1913 and the organization for which he is doing the spying, the British Secret Service, is very much in its infancy and even more so little more than an offshoot of the military struggling to learns what it can in a world that is changing rapidly on behalf of a government that looks upon spying as largely ungentlemanly.

Officially and truthfully, he is a businessman. "It was left to part-time spies to do the dirty work. Over the last few years, McColl - and, he presumed, other British businessmen who traveled the world - had been approached and asked to ferret out those secrets the empire's enemies wanted kept. The man who employed them on this part-time basis was an old naval officer named Cumming, who worked from an office in Whitehall and answered, at least in theory, to the Admiralty and its political masters."

From this we can glean the fact that he has been doing this sideline for some years and we will be able to follow him for nearly another decade, though his life will change drastically during that time, hardly surprising considering the tremendous changes everyone in Europe and Asia and Africa will witness.

Along that road, McColl will meet up with Caitlin Hanley, a young American woman struggling to make a name for herself in a world where the role of women was quite firmly established and young ladies did not show the kind of individuality that she so clearly demonstrated. Their relationship and its flux of waxing and waning will play a major part of his existence even as he struggles all around the Near and Far East to serve a country that needs his kind but is loathe to admit it.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2018

1 Jack Of Spies Jack Of Spies
Written by David Downing
Copyright: 2014

The year is 1913. War is looming. Scottish car salesman Jack McColl is on overseas sales calls from Hong Kong to San Francisco to New York collecting intelligence for the British Secret Service along the way. The Service is just in its infancy, though, and McColl is largely all on his own.
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2 One Man's Flag One Man's Flag
Written by David Downing
Copyright: 2015

The year is 1915, in Spring. The Great War is all over Europe. Jack McColl is in India spying for the U.K. on activities of the German forces on that subcontinent while back closer to home, a former lover, a journalist named Caitlin Hanley, is struggling to find her way in a world where her brother, an IRA sympathizer, was killed when his anti-England plot was stopped by McColl. Now rumors of an uprising in Dublin are getting louder.
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3 Lenin's Roller Coaster Lenin's Roller Coaster
Written by David Downing
Copyright: 2017

It is the Winter of 1917 and Europe has been changed forever by the ongoing War. Jack McColl is given a mission to Central Asia where Germany has made its influence known strongly, the job being to sabotage its control. His lover and part-time enemy, Caitlin Hanley, is in Moscow covering the revolution there.
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4 The Dark Clouds Shining The Dark Clouds Shining
Written by David Downing
Copyright: 2018

In England of 1921, Jack McColl's life has been wrecked. He is in prison after an altercation with a cop. He has no interest in the intelligence business anymore. His lover, Caitlin Hanley, has left him a couple years before to work on behalf of the Communists in Moscow. He has no future. Then his old Secret Service boss offers him a way out if he would travel to Russia to stop an MI5 agent from helping assassinate someone there, a job which will put him up against Hanley's new husband.
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     I was (am) a huge fan of the outstanding Jack Russell series by this superb author, feeling like that man had found time machine to transport me back to the time of WWII.

     Moving later on to his next series, this one about Jack McColl, the author's time machine is still functioning flawlessly as he uses it to move me, and any other author smart enough to open one of these books, back even further in time. Now we are taken to those days leading up to and into the Great War. And just like the Russell tales, we feel like we are there.

     I have no idea how much time Mr. Downing spends researching. It must be a whole lot. Or else this man truly does have a time machine.

     Great writing and impressive research notwithstanding, the key to these terrific books and how much fun they are to read lies with the characters, first and foremost being McColl.

     The man has another hit on his resume.


My Grade: A+


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