Crossing at Ivalo

Roderick MacLeish, Author Little Brown and Company $18.45 (279p) ISBN 978-0-316-54256-2
With glasnost and dawning democratization in the Eastern Bloc, much of MacLeish's ( A Time of Fear ) novel of foreign intrigue already seems outdated and farfetched. Yet the premise of this work by a Washington-based National Public Radio commentator is intriguing: a has-been officer of the KGB decides to finance an erotic reconciliation with his estranged wife by kidnapping and auctioning off Gregor Mandelbaum, a leading Soviet ``Star Wars'' physicist, to rival bidders--the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Assigned to the case, Jake Yarrow of the CIA desperately tries to find Mandelbaum before the auction takes place. There is no Bond-like hero in attendance, just a cast of le Carre-style middle-aged bureaucrats attempting to outthink one another. MacLeish's sharp prose, deftly sketched characters and moral sense are impressive. Despite sundry plot twists, the promise of this thriller is not fulfilled, with loose ends left hanging and the final showdown defying belief. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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