HarperCollins, £16.99stg

Alan Judd's 'Legacy' marks the return of Charles Thoroughgood, the hero of 'A Breed to Heroes'. Now an ex-Army man, Charles is in training for MI6. Life is good. Playing at being a spy is suiting Charles well, even if the surveillance write-ups are proving difficult. However, Charles' life changes utterly when the powers that be discover his college acquaintance with Russian diplomat Victor Koslov.

MI6 decide that they want to recruit the Russian as an agent and Charles is the man to clinch the deal. He is quickly catapulted from novice to fully-fledged agent. While full of enthusiasm for his first posting, Charles is totally unprepared for the surprise information Victor has for him about his father's legacy.

Having his enquires into the matter blocked by MI5, Charles decides to quit MI6 in search of the truth. Secretly backed by his former colleagues, Charles quickly learns his trade and discovers some interesting things about his father.

Set in 1970s London, in the middle of the Cold War, 'Legacy' is a story of espionage, deceit and relationships. Although award-winning author Alan Judd spins a wholly believable and interesting tale the book is terribly slow-moving in places and Thoroughgood, like his name, is not a very exciting character. However, the book is redeemed by its surprise ending.

Joanne Ahern