Morley is an American agent whose close call with death resulted from his attempt to penetrate powerful Belgian government connections to the international narcotics trade. Still convalescing, he defies his bosses in the unnamed bureau and returns to Brussels to complete his mission, resolved to find out who betrayed him. Morley wants to question Cailleau, a master marionette maker involved in smuggling people across national borders, about a team of international terrorists rumored to be plotting an assassination attempt on officials of the European Economic Commission. Cailleau is killed before Morley can get to him, and the mysterious woman who was his assistant and artistic muse flees before either Morley or the forces ranged against him can silence her permanently. |
Intricately plotted and carefully developed, this international spy thriller offers a deep look into a man whose youthful illusions were shattered by what he did and saw in another war in another country. A burned-out espionage veteran, he goes on with his work in the absence of a compelling reason to stop. Like Smiley in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, he no longer questions why he keeps going, he just does. In one of the book's most powerful scenes, he matches wits with a young Arab terrorist whose own idealism on behalf of his cause offers a strong counterpoint to Morley's exhausted patriotism; in another scene, he encounters an old adversary, a Russian agent with whom he finds he has more in common than he does with his own countrymen. The authors Frank M. Robinson and Paul Hull paint a gray, cold, drizzling portrait of Brussels, which all but ensures that readers without a compelling reason to go there will erase it from their future itineraries. Moody, evocative, and gritty, this is an unsentimental yet quietly suspenseful read.
Source: Jane Adams, Amazon.com.