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Full Name: Eberhardt Lukas 'Herbie' Kruger
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: John Gardner
Time Span: 1979 - 1995


Herbie Kruger is an agent with British Intelligence.

Born in Germany before WWII, Kruger was a young teenaged war orphan at the end of the conflict, struggling to survive. American soldiers started using him to infiltrate different refugee camps and other gatherings, looking for information to separate the good guys from the Nazis. After a couple of years, they "passed" him on to the British Intelligence operative for much the same work.

As he reached adulthood, now with an excellent grasp of English as well as his native German, and now also well versed in spy craft, Kruger was offered a position in British Intelligence, along with citizenship. With nothing to lose and a growing affinity to England, he accepted.

Thus began two decades of solid intelligence work as Kruger made use of all his knowledge and contacts to create an impressive spy network in East Germany that had reaches even into the Soviet Union.

Nothing lasts forever and eventually someone talked. The network started to get picked up. Kruger worked tirelessly to save as many as he could and he was successful enough to get a healthy respect from his superiors and peers.

As the series begins, though, the 70's are quickly winding down and a great operative and spy master from the 50's and 60's is considered archaic to those coming up who would function in the 80's. Technology has changed so much and the atmosphere in the world was so different, it is hard for Kruger to have any relevance.

This large, bumbling-looking, aged agent is still at the top of his game but few know it. And even fewer realize that the bumbling movements, the shy demeanor, the almost stupid deportment are all tricks of the trade to make everyone discount him. Unfortunately, now his deceptive abilities have worked too well.

Note that the author, Mr. Gardner, also wrote a three-book series called the Secret Trilogy. In the third book, Kruger makes his entrance as a young agent. His role is fairly small but important. It is more important in the understanding of the character in this series.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1979
Last Appearance:1995

1 The Nostradamus Traitor The Nostradamus Traitor
Written by John Gardner
Copyright: 1979

A simple query by an aging German woman as to what happened to her husband in the Tower of London during the war opens a major can of worms for Herbie Kruger that includes former Nazis and a Soviet mole in British Intelligence.

2 The Garden Of Weapons The Garden Of Weapons
Written by John Gardner
Copyright: 1980

The suicide of a high-ranking KGB official is the start of a hurried attempt by Herbie Kruger to find a suspected double agent before his entire network in East Berlin is destroyed.

3 The Quiet Dogs The Quiet Dogs
Written by John Gardner
Copyright: 1982

Given another chance to redeem his reputation, Herbie Kruger is alarmed to find that a double agent in place in the Kremlin is at grave risk. To save him, Kruger must travel to Moscow himself.

4 Maestro Maestro
Written by John Gardner
Copyright: 1993

A noted orchestra conductor has seen plenty in his days of travelling Europe but now as claims that he worked for the Nazis surface, Herbie Kruger is sent to talk to the man directly. This task is made difficult by someone or ones wanting them both dead.

5 Confessor Confessor
Written by John Gardner
Copyright: 1995

He should have been retired for good years before but now Herbie Kruger is back to find out who blew up the car of a close friend and associate and whether that group is responsible for more mayhem across Europe.


If true spycraft with all its glories and its warts is what you want, you have definitely found the right place. Between this series and the Secret Trilogy, the spy business is fantastically displayed. I can't recommend this series enough for the true connoisseur.

If, however, you are looking for a Bondish-style adventure, look somewhere else. This is a dark, somber, sobering look at the world of spies and the lies and deceit they live with every day. It is not for the faint hearted.

The funny irony is that this is the same man who years before wrote the satirical spy series Boysie Oakes and who while writing this series also penned more James Bond novels than the original writer, Ian Fleming, did.


My Grade: A-


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