All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer


“Celia used to lie for a living. Henry still does. Can they ever trust each other?

Six years ago, Henry and Celia were lovers and colleagues, working for the CIA station in Vienna, until terrorists hijacked a plane at the airport. A rescue attempt, staged from the inside, went terribly wrong. Everyone on board was killed.

That night has continued to haunt all of those involved; for Henry and Celia, it brought their relationship to an end. Celia left the agency and is now living an ordinary married life in the Californian suburbs. Henry is still with the CIA, and has traveled to the US to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all…”

This book was my guilty little pleasure purchased partly with my ‘World Book Day’ voucher and it was not something I would normally go for as I have to admit I have never actually read a spy novel before.

‘All the old knives’ was an excellent book with a completely unexpected plot which I adored! It is split into three sections, each narrated by either Henry or Celia (the two main characters). I really enjoyed the layout of the book, the way the interview morphed into the story that was being told, as if I was living it myself. The smooth transitions back into the interview style with Henry and Celia having dinner in the present worked very well as did the odd sections titled ‘evidence’. These sections gave me a clue that there was more going on than meets the eye.

The character development was very slick, and by the time I finished this fairly small book, I already felt that I had a distinct insight into these characters’ twisted personalities.

I can’t say much about this book as anything would give the plot away, but the ending was spectacular and throughout the novel I did not see it coming! A cliff hanger to finish has left me buzzing after this book and I shall certainly keep my eyes peeled for more books by Olen Steinhauer!

5/5 rating


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An aspiring cellist, I absolutely adore reading, and even if it means squeezing it into the cracks of my busy life I am still determined to read more! For me, a truly great novel isn't just flashy with a fast paced plot and glossy characters, it is good literature that traps you with every word and entices you to read on. I write quick-to-read book reviews on CreativeThoughtBubble, as well as occasionally publishing short stories of my own.

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