Friends and Traitors

John Lawton

RRP: £16.99

5 April 2018

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611856224

RRP: £5.99

5 April 2018

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611859454

It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on ‘the Grand Tour’ for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Siena, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam.

After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years – Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: ‘I want to come home.’ Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to debrief Burgess – but when the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed and Troy finds himself a suspect.

As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy discovers that Burgess is not the only ghost who has returned to haunt him…


Friends and Traitors is a refreshingly irreverent tale of the dark underbelly of spying. A joy to read.Michael Ridpath

Lawton's cynical, tenacious chief superintendent of Scotland Yard is one of crime fiction's superlative creations... Friends and Traitors is more than a genre novel. It is a wickedly seductive entertainment and more proof, if anyone needed it, that John Lawton is creating some of our finest, and some of our most enjoyably ambiguous historical fiction.
Washington Post

Superb... Lawton's portrayal of Burgess as far less dangerous than in most accounts adds to the interest of this smart, fascinating historical thriller.
Publishers Weekly

Burgess makes a delicious antagonist in this eighth instalment in the franchise. Lawton, who writes with rueful acumen, puts a human face on the moral and political complexities of the Cold War.

John Lawton finds himself in the same boat as the late Patrick O'Brian - a sublimely elegant historical novelist as addictive as crack but overlooked by too many readers for too long.
Daily Telegraph

John Lawton's books contain such a wealth of period detail, character description and background information that they are lifted out of any category. Every word is enriched by the author's sophistication and irreverent intelligence, by his meticulous research and his wit.
Literary Review

Lawton's gift for memorable atmosphere and characters, intelligent plotting and wry prose put him solidly at the top of anyone's A-list of contemporary spy novelists.
Seattle Times

Lawton's up there with Philip Kerr and Alan Furst. Yes, he's that good.
The Sun

Intricate plotting, colourful characters, and a brilliant prose style put Lawton in the front rank of historical thriller writers.
Publishers Weekly

It's an extraordinary story - both in history and Lawton's bold re-imagining. It's been told many times before, in both fiction and non-fiction, but Lawton has a fresh approach, shaping Friends and Traitors as more of a character study than a standard-issue thriller.
Seattle Times