Just prior to the invasion of Kuwait, Bill Erlich, a young FBI operative, is hard on the heels of a terrorist. As he blunders in to the lines by which the Iraqi puppet-masters control their undercover agents in England, Bill realises he has gone beyond the point of recall. He is engaged in Condition Black - lethal assault in progress.
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An agent-assassin for Iraq runs rampant on British soil in Seymour's powerful and intelligent new thriller, set--and apparently completed--just before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. As in The Running Target (1989), An Eye for an Eye (1988), and nine earlier novels, Seymour writes here of a skirmish in the perpetual war between freedom and tyranny: of the hunt in England by young FBI agent Bill Erlich for the British-born Iraqi agent who accidentally killed Bill's CIA-pal with a bullet aimed at an Iraqi dissident. Bulldogging through British bureaucracy, Erlich ferrets out his quarry's identity: Colin Oliver Louis Tuck (``Colt'')--wild son of aristocracy, adopted and molded into a killing machine--as shown in grim Iraq-set scenes--by one of Saddam's henchmen. Like Erlich, whose dedication is tarnished by ruthlessness, Colt proves a well-shaded, complex character; he's back in England to visit his dying mother as well as to subvert ambitious and disillusioned British physicist Frederick Bissett to Iraq's nuclear program: this treated in a major subplot, enriched by a poignant portrait of Bissett's despairing wife, that Seymour intercuts with Erlich's search for Colt. When that search ends, Colt and his girlfriend beat Erlich to near-death; as the Yank recovers, Colt snares Bissett, speeding off to Heathrow and a flight to Baghdad. But back in Iraq, a brave Swedish scientist/Mossad spy has sniffed out Colt's plan; when his warning reaches London, Erlich and British colleague James Rutherford race to Heathrow, where Erlich shoots at Colt--and accidentally kills Rutherford: an irony compounded when, in a furious climax, Erlich kills Bissett but Colt steals away.... Morally charged, politically astute, and utterly unromantic-- an admirably gritty-gray slice of spydom by the ever-reliable Seymour. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Seymour ( Running Target ) utilizes a solid knowledge of Middle East politics, diplomatic protocol and the international intelligence community to weave a plausible scenario of prewar Iraqi skulduggery. An unlikely eyewitness to the murder of a CIA operative sets FBI agent Bill Erlich on the trail of an assassin named Colt. Meanwhile, Iraqi bosses have given Colt a new target in England so he can visit his dying mother and recruit a British nuclear scientist who could help Iraq build an atomic bomb. While the intrigue is credible, the characters are not to be believed. Erlich's British Intelligence liaison, James Rutherford, routinely fills his wife in on the daily happenings at the office while Erlich calls his girlfriend in Italy no less than three times on unsecured phone lines to keep her up to date. His girlfriend, by the way, is a CBS field reporter--but she won't tell, will she? Colt, for his part, confesses all to his old flame after walking casually into the village pub right after Erlich and Rutherford have come to his father's house looking for him. Seymour's readers expect better than this.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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