Two KGB rivals, General Zarubin and Professor Nikolai Andrievich Panin, confront each other on a point overlooking the British Channel. Meanwhile, Henry Jaggard of British Intelligence has two pressing problems. He knows the Soviets are mounting a defensive program against a Polish dissident group in Britain, but he cannot intervene without jeopardizing his best inside agents. And Dr David Audley, of the Intelligence R&D Department, has been playing clever politics again.
Jaggard sees his opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. The Professor has requested a meeting with Audley, his old adversary, and with one of Jaggard's own men to abet him, Audley can be safely relied upon to overstep the mark in his attempts to frustrate the KGB.
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- Lynne Dickson
I love Anthony Price's books so it was always going to be enjoyable. Some of the books are better than others and this is one of the best. It has all the elements I enjoy, a background of espionage, political manouevering, the story told from the viewpoint of a character other than one of the long-running protagonists and a bit of an historical theme that Price generally puts into his books. In this case, it was castles. Occasionally, there is more historical background than espionage in these books and they can become unbalanced but this one was spot on.
I especially liked the character of Tom Arkenshaw who takes the lead in this story. He is the son of an English baronet and Polish mother who researches motte and bailey castles in his spare time. He is brought in to protect David Audley who works for "research and development", an ill defined government organisation, because he is going to meet his opposite number in Russian intelligence. Tom's difficulty in working out what Audley, his political masters, the Russians and the CIA, are up to is compelling and his potentially divided loyalties are well done. This book has all of the marvellous sharp dialogue that I have come to expect of Price's books and it drives the story but you always have to be careful not to take what people say at face value.
They were all fine, distinctly characterised, which is quite hard when they are mostly speaking Received Pronunciation.
Not really that sort of book but this is a late one in the series so there is some poignancy owing to the fact that the characters I love may be nearing their retirement.
These books are seriously addictive. I tried one, The Labyrinth Makers, on the off chance and have become hooked. This is my tenth.