Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy

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The Nemesis Manifesto is a thriller set in a world clearly modeled on our own.

Russian and American spies battle it out in this horrifying novel that feels way too familiar. From Russia’s “Sovereign” who is clearly Vladmir Putin (in one scene he rides a horse in heavy snow, shirtless). Major U.S. officials are Russian assets. The President has not-so-secretly suffered a series of mini strokes and gives rambling press conferences. He’s being used by the Russians who are also using bots to spread disinformation. So this book in many parts feels like an American liberal’s waking nightmare.

The NM is complicated. There are many different characters who take over as the narrator. It allows us to get much more of the story but it’s really, really complicated. Somehow it comes together but it’s a bit like the TV show The Walking Dead where major characters die until you expect it. Huge body count in this novel.

There is a lot of backstory left out. That’s by necessity as this would be a far longer book given the number of characters. Still, some characters are revealed and then killed.

While this is a fast-paced novel with plenty of adrenaline, it was still fairly tame. I won’t be getting nightmares from the story, other than from one setting that exists in real life and can give people claustrophobia.