cover image Last ACT

Last ACT

Clive Egleton. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (281pp) ISBN 978-0-312-05887-6

It's no sin that the good guys here are more interesting than the bad guys; the problem is that neither group arouses adequate excitement. After a short chapter ends in a spectacular 1958 suicide, the story flashes back to the anti-Nazi Warsaw uprising of 1944. British POW escapee Michael Kimber finds himself in the middle of the Resistance struggle to get arms from U.S. and RAF airdrops as well as help from a mysteriously inert Red Army. The effort fails and the chief protagonists are scattered. In 1958 Kimber, now in the Diplomatic Service, is assigned to probe the suicide of the head of the 1944 uprising, and is led to Germany and America. The plot encompasses a lost Polish art collection, a mysterious 1944 death, the shifting sands of European and British politics and finally a last-ditch rampage by two Nazis in California. Although the wartime period is deftly drawn, the tone of the 1958 action--until the gory ending--is cool and remote. Maybe it's post-Cold War thinking or British phlegm, but Egleton ( In the Red ) has done better. (July)