It’s difficult to know what exactly to write about Henry Porter’s Empire State. Porter’s themes are the old familiar ones: terrorism, international crime, espionage, the rather questionable behavious of the security services, all set in a world where morality is not the black and white issue we might like it to be, and where the it’s not always easy to tell who are the goodies and who are the baddies. This is all to Porter’s credit in that he presents us with a complex world where nothing is what it seems, morally speaking, which is what akes this more than just a spy novel. That and ( as I’ve said before) the fact that Porter knows how to write. And yet in spite of all the moral ambiguity that resides between the covers of this book, Porter’s central characters manage to negotiate their way through this moral jungle by always acting on their best (human and humane) instincts. Furthermore, some of the character’s from A Spy’s Life also make appearances in Empire State. Porter is creating his own fictional world that cuts across his novels without turning them into a series,as it were.