Marlow_Peter3 Marlow_Peter4 Marlow_Peter1 Marlow_Peter2
Full Name: Peter Marlow
Nationality: British
Organization: British Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Joseph Hone
Time Span: 1972 - 1983


Peter Marlow is an agent for the British Secret Service.

When we first meet him, Marlow is a good, honest agent for British Intelligence who has the misfortune of having a wife who has left him for another agent. Furthermore, he is unknowingly working for a double agent, every bit as devious as Philby or Blount. While trying to save the former, he becomes a pawn and then patsy for the latter and his entire life is changed dramatically.

Marlow is not a flashy secret agent speeding along in a sports car to Monte Carlo. He is a very earnest man with a methodical approach to things who has no asperations to be more than he is, a middle class man with a wife and a steady job and happy to maintain the status quo.

He certainly did not start out to be an espionage agent, or a patsy. He had been a teacher in an English school in Egypt when he and at least one other teacher were approached with the chance to report on events back to London. After a time, the offer expanded and eventually he left teaching to become a full time agent, using his expertise in the Middle East and a good knowledge of Arabic as his basis. A good deal of this is revealed in a long flashback in the first book, an important read to understand all the rest that transpires.

As the series progresses, his status goes from okay to horrid to strange to apparently good but in keeping with the whole concept of deception, you never completely know for sure. Paranoia is not a trait that plagues this man but in his case, it would have been better if it had. Marlow remains a man who keeps trying to be good and normal and happy but it seems the Fates do not agree with that concept.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:1972
Last Appearance:1983

1 The Private Sector The Private Sector
Written by Joseph Hone
Copyright: 1972

When he is chosen to go after a missing fellow agent and former friend, Peter Marlow wonders if it will bring him to his estranged wife who was the lover of the missing man. What he didn't realize was he would become involved in a plot to kill the President of Egypt.
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2 The Sixth Directorate The Sixth Directorate
Written by Joseph Hone
Copyright: 1975

Offered a chance to get out of the prison his duplicitous boss framed him into, Peter Marlow agrees to take the identity of a Soviet agent pretending to be an American heading to the U.N. It soon becomes clear to Marlow that there were many levels to the man.
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3 The Oxford Gambit The Oxford Gambit
Written by Joseph Hone
Copyright: 1980

After several years away from the action, Peter Marlow was getting bored with his life in the country and tiring of trying to write. But he wasn't tired enough to be pulled back to hunt for a missing retired section head of the Service. He wasn't really given the choice.
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4 The Valley Of The Fox The Valley Of The Fox
Written by Joseph Hone
Copyright: 1983

Happily living with his new wife and her autistic daughter in the Cotswolds, Peter Marlow is stunned when gunfire opens and the three have to flree for their lives. Now the question is who is the target, Marlow or his wife?
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The world of espionage does not get much nastier than presented by Mr. Hone. Peter Marlow is a very good agent who does not deserve anything like what happens to him, all because of a mole who does not want to get unearthed. The writing is very professional and the flow quite orderly but do not skip over a paragraph because you are likely to skip something important.

If you want an incredibly dramatic, thought provoking, and mesmerizing journey into the horridly backstabbing world of espionage, I couldn't recommend any series more than Mr. Hone's 4-book series of Peter Marlow.

I give you fair warning, though. I swear afterwards you will not trust your best friend again. Or your spouse. Or your boss. And don't even think about total strangers.


My Grade: A


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