Treason (A Stone Barrington Novel)

Image of Treason (A Stone Barrington Novel)
Release Date: 
January 7, 2020
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Reviewed by: 

“Stuart Woods with Treason provides a couple of hours of uncomplicated chase-and-shoot entertainment.”

There are hundreds of ways in which a work week can slide sideways and add stress. But of all the ways to balance that feeling, the Stone Barrington novels by Stuart Woods may be in the top 10. The newest title, Treason, is an action-packed romp through “outing” a Washington, DC, mole and enjoying the delights of fine food and wine, good friends, and happy romps in bed, all between “scrambled” phone calls to top CIA buddies.

Spun in short lively chapters ideal for commuters and other often-interrupted readers, Treason opens with Stone Barrington’s long-time friend and lover, Holly, arriving in person to seek his assistance. Suspecting a mole in the Department of State and unwilling to risk trusting either the CIA or the FBI, Holly wants Stone’s advice on what her other options are. And she’s made a good choice in coming to him; after a few diversions, Stone connects her with a truly trusted contact who can start the rapid screening process needed.

And rapid is the key word, because Holly is already Secretary of State and about to open her presidential campaign. She can’t risk having a mole in place and later being exposed—it would totally blow her image as competent on the high-pressure stage of national and soon global politics. The catch is: At first, it looks like her department is “clean,” and she steps forward.

Which is when Stone and his buddies realize things are more complicated than they look, and a diversion or two will be necessary to both flush out the mole and protect Holly’s campaign. Naturally, since a Stuart Woods new release is always up to date, the issue at stake involves manipulation by a Russian oligarch.

“’I had no instructions regarding discretion, or on how to kowtow to a Russian oligarch,’ Stone said. ‘So I treated him like a normal human being.’

‘He is not a normal human being,’ Lance said, ‘as I assume you now understand.’

‘I understand that he does not regard himself as a normal human being,’ Stone said, ‘and that he may have come to regard me as less than one, since he is obviously accustomed to a level of obsequiousness that I have not yet attained in my dealings with the superrich.’

‘Oh, stop being a pompous ass,’ Lance scolded.”

There’s plenty of such witty dialogue involved, but the plot eventually matures to the wealthy seacoast version of car chases: yacht maneuvers. And of course plenty of armaments and explosions underway.

Series fans will understand that there’s no serious long-term risk to Stone himself, since he needs to survive for the next book. But will his snappy maneuvering prove enough to protect the seductive women who appear so often in his life? Come to think of it, might any of those sexy ladies be covering for a Russian espionage entanglement?

As usual, riding shotgun for Stone Barrington means adapting to the next crisis before all the pieces are clearly aligned. With some light-hearted political commentary tossed over the shoulder, Stuart Woods with Treason provides a couple of hours of uncomplicated chase-and-shoot entertainment.

Or are the Russians really infiltrating American politics after all?