Faith - 1994

The Samson series

Plot summary

Though written in 1993-4, four years after the Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, this book carries on seamlessly from the ending of Spy Line, in the summer of 1987. This historical perspective provides the reader with a degree of knowledge about how things might end, but no real clue about how the plot will develop.

In the final three volumes, loose ends begin to be tied up by Deighton and the different story and character arcs - developed in extensive detail over six books - are twisted and stretched by him even further examining the psychological and political machinations behind the fate of Fiona Samson.

This book explores the long-term effects of the whole Samson saga on the key characters. Bernard is deep undercover in Magdeburg in 1987, helping the East German christian church (which, as Deighton would by then have known, was crucial to ending the 39-year-old existence of the DDR).

His life is falling apart, his relationship with Gloria is over; his marriage is in tatters. His kids are with his hated father-in-law. Bernard must now fight back to keep his job and his marriage. He starts by aiming to deliver Russian defector ‘Verdi' to London Central. But he can't stop thinking about the death of Fiona's sister Tessa beside the autobahn outside Berlin, and looks for answers. Things get more complicated than he could ever imagine.

Why it's enjoyable

This is less about developing new plots than unravelling well-know plot lines and character developments and providing the reader with new insights. This volume is all about a web of intrigue and secrecy and seeing how Bernard Samson copies with each new revelation. As the dustjacket description says, 'Bernard Samson, caught between two women, finds there is no one he can confide in and nothing to depend on except his own faith.' That's a pretty good summing up of the tale.

But as interesting as Bernard's character development is the role of George Kozinski, the husband of Fiona's late sister, who up to now has had a peripheral role but here moves centre stage. What is he doing in Poland, behind the Iron Curtain?

Sample dialogue

'"What in the hell happened to you?" he said in an awed voice that made me think my bruises were worse than they were.

"A drunken idiot tried to rob me." "Where?" "A stube in Kreuzberg."

"You should keep away from greasy spoons like that," said Dicky. And, with commendable concern for the affairs of the nation, added: "Suppose you'd been carrying Category One papers?"

"I was," I said. "But I swallowed them."'

Related facts

This is the seventh book in a ten-volume series. For the first time, in the endpapers of the book the publishers included useful diagrammatic representations of how all the characters inter-relate to each other across the stories. It's a useful short-hand to check who every character is and why they're important.

These books show another shift in cover design, with for the first time illustrations of some of the main characters, such as with Werner Volkmann (or is it Bernard?) on the front cover.

Faith

Faith, UK first edition, 1994

Interesting fact

Part of the story takes place in Magdeburg in East Germany. It was to this city that the Soviets took the remains of Adolf Hitler after the war, before they went on to Moscow where, some maintain, they remain