The Ninth Circle

N. J. Crisp, Author Viking Books $17.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-81850-1
Crisp is a British author of stylish, ingenious novels ( The Brink ) about shadowy figures in the world's intelligence agencies. The hero of this adventure, however, is an outsider, a Swiss national, Stephen Haden. A Fluchthelfer (an operator who spirits people out of Europe's Eastern Bloc), Haden works solely for profits. When Petra Baron offers a rich sum, Haden agrees to search for her husband Alexformerly a Russian citizen named Baronin, now an Americanwho has vanished in Vienna. Another American, Ralph Janson, a friend of the Barons, guarantees payment, possibly on behalf of the CIA, Haden believes. Beginning his mission in London, Haden makes contact with a few people who might have leads to Alex's disappearance but gets only a slim clue, the word ``Dante,'' from a man who is murdered before he can divulge more. Flying to Vienna, the Fluchthelfer encounters persons he suspects are dangerously interested in his quest for information about Petra's missing husband. The action intensifies during the final stages of Haden's assaults on a barrier set up by conspirators with shameful secrets to hide. It is they who broaden his understanding of why Dante reserved the ninth circle of hell for traitors. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-55817-305-7
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