Updated: Aug 4
Decades ago, when I was first introduced to the glitz, glam, and mystery of Jay Gatsby I was captivated. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is a classic taught in high school English classrooms across the nation. Then, most recently, I saw The Great Gatsby on the big screen starring Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio and found that the allure to this grandiose character was still there. So, when I saw “Agent Gatz” by R.M Spencer I was immediately drawn to it!
Touted as a prequel to “The Great Gatsby,” “Agent Gatz” takes place eight years before F. Scott Fitzgerald’s own book. As Jay Gatsby, going by Teddy Belmont for clandestine purposes, finds himself aboard a ship on his way to Europe. After owing the mob some money, due to Ella Kaye’s actions, Jay resorts to working as a foreign spy to steal weaponry secrets for a mysterious source. However, once out to sea, Jay realizes Ella Kaye is also on the ship, and after a few days at sea WWI breaks out, changing the course of both their lives immensely.
R.M. Spencer may have even outdone Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald himself with this Great Gatsby Prequel. Spencer has peeled back the layers of Mr. Gatsby and really kicked the doors wide open on his life before it all. Impressively well done, “Agent Gatz” is the true classic American novel they should be teaching about. From the intricacies of foreign affairs, the war games of spies, the unrest for Americans stuck abroad, refugees fleeing war torn countries, and the network of resistance, Spencer captures it all so stunningly in this novel.
As a bonus, this audiobook is captivating. Told via two narrators, rotating between Ella and Jay, the story really comes to life through their voices. I found myself enjoying this read even more from the male and female perspectives that these voices provided.
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