By Thom Geier
April 07, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brandenburg Gate

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The setup to Henry Porter’s new thriller may seem familiar: Stasi agent-turned-art historian Rudi Rosenharte is called back into the espionage business one last time (his twin brother is arrested to ensure his cooperation). But Porter’s nifty twist is to set his story in September 1989, on the eve of the Berlin Wall’s collapse. The characters (including Vladimir Putin, then a KGB officer) are naturally unaware of how events on the street will wreak havoc on their schemes and counter-schemes. For a while, Porter’s plotting is as tight as a fortysomething’s high school letter jacket, but toward the end Brandenburg Gate is overrun by a wildly implausible love story and one too many fateful coincidences.

Brandenburg Gate

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