(Tortured) Faith and Espionage

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(Tortured) Faith and Espionage

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nov. 8, 2007, 9:50pm

John Braine, one of the Angry Young Men, apparently wrote two spy novels featuring Xavier Flynn, who seems to be a Bond-ish secret agent with the outstanding characteristic of being a devout Catholic:

The Pious Agent
Finger of Fire

Has anyone read these? Sadly, the only one in print is the first book.

I've always found myself fascinated with this, partly because the recent revival of my interest in the genre was due to Tim Powers's Declare, which led me to the first John Le Carre novel I ever read. Both of those thrilled me but also gave me opportunity to struggle with my rather complicated relationship with my own religious upbringing.

(For my ramblings about this, along with certain bits that struck me upon reading The Looking Glass War, click here.)

Tim Powers is Catholic, some of the other Le Carre novels I've read also include similar discussions of faith, there's Graham Greene of course, and even bits like this one from Len Deighton's Berlin Game:

"...it is only the very devout who toy with heresy. It's only the Jesuit who complains of the Pope, only the devoted parent who ridicules his child, only the super-rich who pick up pennies from the gutter. And in East Berlin it is only the truly faithful who speak treason with such assurance."

Finally, Robert Hanssen was Opus Dei. Any thoughts?