Red Star Burning

A Thriller

Charlie Muffin Thrillers (Volume 15)

Brian Freemantle

Thomas Dunne Books

A Barry Award Finalist for Best Thriller

Britain’s MI5 tolerates Charlie Muffin because he’s their best field agent. What none of his colleagues knows, though, is that he is married to Natalia Fedova, a colonel in the FSB, the Russian intelligence successor to the KGB. It’s a secret that could land her in front of a firing squad, and him in jail for life. Worst of all, their daughter would then end up in a Russian state orphanage.

But a frantic call from Natalia has brought their secret out, and Charlie must lead a combined MI5/MI6 mission to rescue her. He soon realizes that his higher-ups have other priorities than his family’s safety. Charlie will have to outwit not just the Russians but his own government as well to protect the lives of his wife and child.

Clever, unpredictable, and exciting, Red Star Burning shows why Brian Freemantle has been widely praised as one of the greatest living espionage novelists.


Read an Excerpt

“Kill myself?” echoed Charlie, derision and astonishment combined.
“That’s what I think you’ll end up doing.”
“Bollocks,” rejected Charlie. At the back—too often in the forefront—of his mind had always hovered the expectation of dying. But violently: from a breath-sucking assassin’s bullet or the burn of a back-alley knife or a shattering explosion. But never of killing himself, not even while confronting his now fossilized existence.
“It would be understandable,” sympathized the small,


Praise for Red Star Burning

Praise for Red Star Burning:

“This is le Carré territory, to be sure—think The Russia House (1989)—and Freemantle hits every note perfectly in dramatizing the fundamental conflict between individual values and institutional machinations. On top of that, he constructs an airtight plot, full of backpedaling twists, that leads to a stunning cliffhanger of a finale.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A terrific story. … At least a double cross is on, if not a triple, and there’s genuine suspense in the unfolding origami.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Freemantle has written a tense and entertaining scramble.” —Library Journal

Red Star Burning is an excellent book on several levels. Freemantle does a great job of developing the espionage plot, and it's fascinating to see the conflicts not only between the UK and Russia but the political maneuvering between MI5 and MI6. … Freemantle does a wonderful job of blending the interesting world of spy tradecraft with matters of the heart.”—Reviewing the Evidence

Praise for Brian Freemantle:

“Freemantle, certainly one of the top espionage writers today, may very well be one of the best of all time.” ---Booklist

“Praised as more than a match for John le Carré, Freemantle will not disappoint readers.” ---Library Journal

“If Brian Freemantle isn’t the best writer of spy novels around, he’s certainly, along with John le Carré, in the top two. . . . It doesn’t get much better than this.” ---The Philadelphia Inquirer

“His thrillers . . . are both sleek and tough, filled with gritty characters and superb plotting.” ---Chicago Tribune

“Impossible to put down . . .  marvelous . . . real genius.” ---The Washington Post

“Wonderful . . . Freemantle holds the reader in his thrall with masterful, insightful writing.” ---Orlando Sentinel

“If you like to read about a protagonist who, like a master chess player, seems to be think three or four moves ahead of everyone, then the Charlie M series is for you. It is deliciously complex.” ---Deadly Pleasures

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Brian Freemantle

  • BRIAN FREEMANTLE is the author more than thirty books, which have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. These include fourteen previous novels in the Charlie Muffin series, most recently Red Star Rising. He has been foreign editor and chief foreign correspondent for the London Daily Mail and foreign correspondent for the London Daily Sketch, among others. He lives in England.
  • Brian Freemantle


Available Formats and Book Details

Red Star Burning

A Thriller

Charlie Muffin Thrillers

Brian Freemantle



Thomas Dunne Books