cover image Quiller Meridian

Quiller Meridian

Adam Hall, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (287p) ISBN 978-0-688-11797-9

Hero of 16 earlier adventures ( Quiller Solitaire , et al.), the eponymous British agent can still be depended on for quick thinking and unflinching derring-do. Here, his mettle is put to the test in the former Soviet Union when he is called in to salvage Operation Meridian. Quiller travels from Rome to Bucharest to Moscow trailing a skittish Russian contact, who then books himself on the Rossiya (the Trans-Siberian Express), bound for Vladivostok. Quiller entrains too, and the book plunges into almost nonstop action. During the course of the narrative, Quiller is shot at, survives a car crash and a train wreck, and battles the Russian militia, the violent Stalinist Podpolia underground and a rogue ex-KGB agent who is fond of bombs. The final confrontation takes place in Novosibirsk with leaders of the Podpolia , who are plotting a coup with the Chinese and the rogue bomber. As ever, narrator Quiller's voice is knowing and insouciant, deftly turning plot points with razor-sharp characterizations and keeping readers on the edges of their seats. The subtleties of the spy trade--and the inadequacies of British intelligence--are nicely limned, as is life in the new Russia. Adam Hall is the pseudonym of Elleston Trevor ( Deathwatch ). (Apr.)