Charlie's Apprentice by Brian Freemantle

By Brian Freemantle

Having outlived the chilly conflict, Charlie Muffin is placed out to pasture by way of his director as a instructor of fledgling spies, until eventually an apprentice is captured in Beijing, and Charlie is distributed at the harmful rescue project.

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There was no way of knowing if it had. Double disaster. Double abandonment. Belated double despair. So many things … Charlie stopped the nostalgia, forcing himself to concentrate, although the recollection of the trial stayed with him. ’ There was no facial relaxation. ’ ‘A man is always presumed innocent until proven guilty by the weight of evidence. ’ said Charlie, brightly, trying to build bridges between himself and his new Controller. ‘There are parts that are impressive,’ she said. ’ She paused.

He’ll do the job, to the very best of his ability. And it’s a pretty damned good ability. ’ The woman nodded this time. ’ ‘Let’s hope it works,’ said the Director. Patricia Elder laughed, abruptly. ‘That’s what Charlie said. It was interesting, listening to him. ’ ‘Of course he does! ’ She paused. The conversation about Charlie Muffin was over. ’ Increasingly Patricia Elder was regretting the absolute commitment she’d made to their relationship, neglecting and finally abandoning other friends and acquaintances until Peter was the only person she had now.

Alternatively, Charlie thought, it could have been pain. ’ Charlie listened to gossip, never imparted it. And he certainly didn’t intend discussing Sir Alistair with this Mechanical Man. ’ Miller nodded, seemingly unaware of the evasive cliché. ‘Quite so. I see myself as responsible for the organization as a whole: I do not intend to become immersed …’ There was another grimaced smile. ’ And as career-dangerous as those active operations might be, if they went wrong, mentally qualified Charlie.

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