Giant's Shadow

Thomas Bontly, Author Random House (NY) $17.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-394-56540-8
The premise of this thriller set in West Germany flatters the publishing industry: the secret return to the West of an American poet who defected to the Soviet Union during the '60sand who has much high-level intelligence information to sharehinges on finding a suitable editor for his memoirs. Poet Jeremy Sawyer requests Sam Abbott, an American professor on sabbatical leave in West Germany, who was his best friend while the two studied at Oxford 25 years earlier. Abbott accepts the job, but in the meantime, the CIA, KGB and an Eastern European emigre group show a deadly interest in Sawyer's possible re-defection. A series of incidents, including a hair-raising escape from East German police during a brief foray across the border, convince Abbott that a mole is sabotaging Sawyer's escape plan. Many turncoats figure in the plot, which culminates in a satisfying denouement. However, Bontly's occasionally hackneyed prose (planes tip wings toward their destinations, for example) and Tom Clancy-like coyness (``They used to feed the kids at the golden arches when they were traveling. . . .'') are drags on the narrative. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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