Review by William N. Dale
Both Hunter and Hunted begins in 2000, but in an almost immediate flashback takes us to Istanbul in 1975, at the peak of the Cold War when the major powers were contesting for strategic position and territory in the Middle East. Vincent Joyce, who has spent several years in Turkey, describes the experiences of an unlikely mixture of people who become involved in a Cold War adventure beyond their capabilities to handle. Its outcome impacted drastically the course of the international struggle underway on a higher plane.
Although complex in detail, the plot focuses on the responses of ordinary people to an evolving crisis they would like to avoid, but cannot do so. The author fills his metaphor-laden, suspenseful narrative with an unusual cast of characters whose interactions add intrigue, romance, and humor.
American officials and military personnel stationed in Turkey during the height of the Cold War were the first “cold warriors.” Sent to aid the beleaguered Turks resisting Soviet domination, they developed a mutual admiration for their future NATO partners. Representing the U.S. Information Service in Ankara, Joyce was among the first of these Americans. He traveled extensively throughout the country and met people of all walks of life, from his richly-described bazaars and ancient fortresses of Istanbul to the mosque of Bebek where he encounters a stuffy Turkish intelligence agent. Most revealing are the ideologically charged conversations between an ex-CIA agent named Paul Adams and Leonid Orenko, a thoughtful Russian security agent.
Joyce’s novel succeeds splendidly in balancing an exciting plot with ideological insights that remain pertinent today.