The Crook Factory
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The Crook Factory

by Dan Simmons
Release date: 1999
Type: other fiction
Genres: thriller

In 1942, at the height of World War II, Ernest Hemingway sought permission form J. Edgar Hoover to operate a spy ring out of his ranch in Cuba. This much is true...

In a beautifully realized work of fierce originality, award-winning author Dan Simmons expands a little-known fact into a tour de force of historical suspense.

It is the summer of '42, and FBI agent Joe Lucas has come to Cuba at the behest of the Director to keep an eye on Ernest Hemingway, who has recklessly decided to play spy in the Caribbean. Lucas has been instructed to somehow gain the great writer's trust and friendship, but all the agent's cool intellect and training has left him unprepared to withstand the human whirlwind known as "Papa."

Hemingway has assembled a spy ring that he calls the "Crook Factory" – including an American millionaire, a twelve-year-old Cuban orphan, a Spanish jai alai champion, a priest, and a fisherman, among others – to play a dangerous game of amateur espionage. Then, against all odds, Hemingway uncovers a critical piece of intelligence, and the game turns deadly for himself, Lucas, and for untold innocents.

In The Crook Factory, Dan Simmons weaves an unforgettable tale of riveting suspense, peopled by larger-than-life characters who inhabit the sensual, intoxicating Cuban landscape of the 1940s. It is a novel of honor, passion and chilling conspiracy.

And it could very well have happened...

(updated 2017-01-16)

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