Rebecca stared at her own reflection. She brushed her hair back and studied her face: it was strikingly pretty with a strong but gently curving jaw line and a high rectangular shaped forehead; the nose was in complete proportion with a straight bridge leading to a softly rounded tip; the eyes were deep blue and the mouth full and sensuous. With a few brush strokes she had given herself a healthy golden glow which emphasised her high cheekbones and made her eyes appear almost unnaturally…
‘George Briars looked at Alex – or Alexei as he always called him in private – he had bulked out a lot over the years and his closely cropped hair had turned from sandy blond to, almost completely natural, white. In a way he seemed to have grown into George’s first impression of him when they met at Oxford over thirty years ago. He had reminded him then of the Robert Shaw character in From Russia with Love... '
'Francesco was in his mid to late forties, about average height with a frame that suggested a love of the good Italian life; his skin was tanned but quite smooth save for the crinkly little lines which appeared around his kind brown eyes whenever he smiled, and he smiled a lot.' David Proval as Francesco.
'Her hair had brassy gold highlights and she wore just a bit too much make-up which looked fine under the evening lights but in daytime would make her look like the Russian prostitute that Alex had always suspected she had started out as. Alex watched her heavily made-up almond shaped eyes scan her surroundings. She looked like a lot of women he had slept with... ' Noomi Rapace as Oksana.
‘Hello, tovarisch. How are you?’ The woman’s tone was low and heavily accented. She was a little smaller than medium height, slim and in her mid-thirties, dressed in nondescript dark clothing which was probably expensive but didn’t advertise the fact.' Carice van Houten as Oksana.
‘Smartly – but plainly – dressed in a black wool-knit trouser suit, wearing the absolute minimum of make-up and jewellery with a neat crop of silver-grey hair, she cut a tall and imposing figure. She would reach the age of 60 next year when she would retire as head of MI5.’ Tilda Swinton as Sarah Hartington
'The cardinal himself did look like something from an earlier time – a head that appeared like a skull, with a thin – almost transparent – layer of grey-tinged skin stretched over it. He was completely bald with imperceptible eyelashes and brows which gave his eyes a penetrating quality as they peered through old-fashioned pince-nez spectacles which pinched his aquiline nose. It was hard to tell his age but most accounts put him in his late seventies.' Max von Sydow as Cardinal Moro.