The cold war is over, but men like Peter Ashton of the British SIS still face extraordinary dangers as they confront multinational terrorism that can strike anywhere, at any time, with powerful weapons. And in the world of spies, counterspies, traitors, double agents and backbiting bureaucrats convincingly described by Egleton, the dangers from one's friends seem as great as from one's enemies. Ashton, featured in many of the prolific Egleton's novels (Dead Reckoning; etc.), is detailed to investigate the grisly murder of a Queen's Messenger in Costa Rica. To uncover the hydra-headed monster lurking behind that torture killing, Ashton will have to explore links among terrorists as diverse as the IRA, the KGB, Turkish Cypriots and a former Cuban intelligence officer. A combination of inspired deduction, hard (and very clever) spade work and good luck are almost offset by the handicaps Ashton faces from either deliberate or incidental obfuscations within the SIS and its allies. Egleton offers some riveting dramatic passages while making the necessarily plodding investigative process both entertaining and informative. Ashton is smooth, likable, bright and perfectly willing to ruffle the feathers of his superiors if it will inch him closer to a solution. All in all, Egleton provides great entertainment, and if the novel's conclusion strains credulity, with Ashton always in the right place at the right time, it isn't enough to diminish the pleasure of the journey. (Apr. 2)
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001 Release date: 03/01/2001 Genre: Fiction
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