Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

Lea Carpenter explores what happens when the business of spying gets personal

A side-by-side of an author and her book cover.
If you love spy novels, don't miss Lea Carpenter's new book, "Ilium." It follows a young, inexperienced recruit who is thrust into the white hot center of a high-stakes operation.
Photo by Huger Foote | Cover courtesy of Penguin Random House

Who knew boring could be an asset?

In Lea Carpenter’s new spy novel, “Ilium,” we meet our young and restless unnamed narrator on a day when she’s urging herself to be less mundane, to take more risks.

She has no idea that the spies she’ll soon be working for want her precisely because she’s inexperienced, untested and ordinary.

She quickly gets pulled into a high-stakes mission against a target who has a complicated backstory when it comes to American intelligence forces.

Carpenter joined spy novel enthusiast Kerri Miller on this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas. They talked about how Carpenter’s own family history inspired her interest in America’s intelligence agencies, why women are exceptionally good spies, and how family life both complicates and clarifies the work.


Subscribe to Big Books and Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsRSS or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Volume Button
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News